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The Haist Family of Barwick-in-Elmet


from The Barwicker No.83
Sept. 2006

My Haist family lived in Barwick-in-Elmet from the mid seventeenth to the mid eighteenth century. Although they don't appear to have stayed in the parish all that long, historical records have shown that they were very involved in village life. My 4 x great grandfather George Haist left Barwick, probably in the mid 1750s setting up in the growing township of Hunslet, just south of Leeds as a butcher, a trade practised by his family in Barwick. Some members of the family stayed in the area, but by the time of the 1851 census, there was only one family left, spelt Haste by the Enumerator, and the head of the family, James, had been born in Birkby in 1805. What happened to the others I do not know.

Haist descendants outside No.6 The Boyle, August 2000

Back - Malcolm Haist.
Front (l. to r.) - Margaret Tones , Joan Barnes, Winnie Kendrick, Kathryn Bassett

Here are the stories of some members of the Haist family in Barwick.


George was my 6 x great grandfather, and was baptised in Barwick in-Elmet parish church on 24 January 1641, the son of Richard Haiste. I don't know his mother's name because, according to most Registers of Baptism, women must have had little to do with childbirth, as they are rarely mentioned when their child was baptised. George grew up, and married Mary Tailforth at Whitkirk church in Leeds parish, on 6 October 1661. As was typical of the time, they had a large family, who were all mentioned in Barwick parish documents - William, George (died young), another George, John, Elizabeth, Richard, Philip, Mary, Joseph, and the youngest, suitably named Benjamin.

George was a tenant farmer, listed in the Rent Rolls of Barwick-in-Elmet, although the exact location of the land was not identified. Like many other farmers, he also received income from the butchery business. Hearth Tax records for Barwick for 1672 have George 'Hayste' paying 4 shillings for 2 hearths. By contrast, William Ellis, esquire, of Kiddal Hall, paid 18 shillings in tax. Fifteen per cent of householders in Barwick were exempted as being too poor, leaving 278 households in Barwick parish to pay the tax. In edition No.23 of 'The Barwicker', John Stansfield of the Thoresby Society estimated the population of the parish to be about 800 at this time, based on these records.

When I visited Barwick in 2000 with my Kiwi cousin (another of George's descendants) we were intrigued to find No.6 The Boyle' with the inscription "GMH 1679". We wondered if this might mean G and MH, perhaps a reference to our ancestors George and Mary Haist. I have been unable to find any other information on this matter, but would welcome any relevant information.

George was a Churchwarden of Barwick parish church in 1671, 1678 and 1690. He was Overseer of the Poor for the parish in 1671 and 1699, and parish Constable in 1695. George lived to be 68, a very good age at that time, and was buried in Barwick-in-Elmet parish churchyard on 6 April 1709.


Benjamin Haist was born in Barwick-in-Elmet, the youngest child of George and Mary, and was baptised in the parish church on 12 March 1685. His first wife was Hanah Oates, whom he married at the Church of St. Martin and St. Gregory, York, on 11 February 1707. Benjamin's life illustrates the precarious nature of life for eighteenth century children. Benjamin and Hanah's first child was named George after his grandfather Haist, and baptised 10 months after the old man's death. He was joined by his sister Elizabeth the but sadly both babies were buried within 4 days of each other in May and June 1712. Another, daughter, Martha, was baptised and buried on the same day, 13 December, 1714. A son, James, was born in 1716 and grew into manhood. Two little sisters, both christened Catherine, were born in 1719 and 1722, but the first died at 4 months old and the second at 2 months. Their mother Hanah Haist was herself buried in Barwick churchyard in October 1731 after 24 years of marriage and at least 6 pregnancies but only one living child.

Benjamin married quite quickly, which was not unusual, in February 1732. His second wife was quite an important person locally. She was Elizabeth Dawson, a widow with 2 daughters, Mary and Elizabeth, and one son William, who later became Parish Clerk of Barwick from 1760 to 1775. Elizabeth was from higher social strata than Benjamin and the marriage seems to have promoted the Haist's family prospects. According to "A History of Barwick-in-Elmet", the second Mrs Benjamin Haist was born Elizabeth Ellis whose family owned land and property around the Barwick area for generations. Her first husband was William Dawson of Kiddal Hall, which may have come in to his possession through his wife. On his gravestone, which according to the book, used to be in Barwick church, Benjamin Haist is referred to as "Mr", showing that he rose in status to yeoman farmer.

At this time local government was in part administered usually (but not exclusively) by men of sufficient economic and social status to become parish officials, i.e. Churchwardens, Parish Constables and Overseers of the Poor and Highways. The offices were honorary and not at all popular. Each qualifying person had to do his (or her) bit to help to run the parish. Benjamin Haist was Churchwarden in 1734, 1735 and 1736, and he signed the accounts of various parish officers throughout the 1730s and 1740s. His last parish office was in 1750 when he was 65.

Records of parish officers can make interesting reading and show just what the job could involve. For instance, in 1737, the Overseer of the Poor granted 1.10.0 to spend on the funeral of one Widow Haigh, who apparently had no relatives to support her. An additional 1 was given to Richard Haist, in consideration of his taking the widow's daughter as an apprentice. Some of the activities described in the parish records might not seem quite "above board" today. For instance, Barwick's Overseer of the Poor, John Goodley, paid 8 shillings for stones and boulders from one Thomas Haist. Who signed the orders? - Thomas's uncles Benjamin and Samuel Haist, the current Overseers of the Poor. Who said sleaze is a modern phenomenon?

Benjamin was to experience more family tragedy when he and Elizabeth had 3 children, Ann, Benjamin and Peggy of whom only the eldest survive. Nine children born, but only two still alive when he himself died in 1750.


Thomas Haist, the man mentioned in the stones and boulders "deal", was baptised in Barwick parish church on 25 March 1695, the son of William and Margaret and grandson of the first George Haist already mentioned. When his children were baptised, Thomas was described in the Parish Register as "Innkeeper" of Kiddal Lane End. I would like to think that this inn was the "ancestor" of the present Fox and Grapes, but a contemporary map shows an inn on the north side of York Road. I feel another research project coming on.


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