In January 2021, what appear to be two different draft versions of a "Statutory
Declaration" dated 1879 came to light. The final signed version (if such a document
was ever created) is not available at present. The document appears to be written
to clarify some sort of inheritance issue: without further knowledge or sight
of the Wills of some of the people involved, it is only possible to guess at
the document's purpose. The declaration is made by Joseph Harger (1809-1848)
and describes the generation of his father and siblings (Agnes (b. 1769), William,
Joseph, Robert (the writer Joseph's father), Eli, Joseph, Richard (b. 1782))
and the grandparents, Joseph Harger and Agnes Peel, married 1768: full details
are given below. The solicitor involved in drawing up the Statutory Declaration
was JH Vant. There are a lot of Josephs (four to be precise, across three generations)
mentioned, so digesting this information can be confusing! The "blue"
draft has an extra couple of paragraphs and a table which aren't in the "brown"
Sarah Lister writes about the background to the Statutory Declaration: "On
the fall of the auctioneer's hammer in late 1878, Robert entered into a contract
to buy the property, but would not complete his purchase until a completion
date of probably 4 to 6 weeks later. After the auction the seller's solicitor
would have sent Robert's solicitor an abstract of title giving details of the
title of the land, so as to show that the seller had a good and marketable title.
It is possible that there was a flaw in the title which Robert's solicitor required
to be removed by means of the statutory declaration which followed in February
1879. So, in conclusion, the statutory declaration was needed to prove that
the sellers were entitled to the land and therefore could sell it. It is no
more than a coincidence that Robert Slinger was William Harger's son in law.
Irrespective of the purpose of the document, it is invaluable for several reasons
it clearly lays out the children of Joseph Harger and Agnes Peel, 7 children
born between 1769 and 1782: there is probably no other such record in existence
(there is a sampler which
lays out a later generation, the children of the herein mentioned Robert Harger
the document clearly confirms that Agnes Peel was also known as Nancy, which
had been implied, but this document puts it beyond doubt.
and, the declaration clearly confirms the presence of two Josephs, one dying
in infancy, and also confirms that Richard Harger (1782-1833) had no children:
this was implied, but never previously stated.
Both documents are presented below for download, as JPG and PDF (large files).
A combined text is also below, with a pdf version, followed by a summary of
the people mentioned in the declarations, and a family tree of those people.
File downloads of the draft Statutory Declarations:
For connection to the present day, the link to the Goulds and one branch of
Hargers is via the writer of the declaration, Joseph (1809-1886)
who had several children, one was Robert (1884-1885) and another was John Vincent
(1846-1926). The connection to the other group of New Zealand Hargers (Figgins) is via
Joseph (1780-1848), the tenant at the Royal Oak pub in Settle.
Statutory Declaration 1879 covers (links above for download of full files)
Combined text of the Statutory Declarations 1879(pdf
version (213kb), with additional information)
The Trustees of the late Wm Harger dec'd to Mr Robt Slinger
Statutory declaration of Mr Jos Harger proving the heirship of the late
Wm Harger to the latters Brother Richard
I Joseph Harger of Settle in the West Riding of the County of York Joiner
and Cabinet Maker do solemnly & sincerely declare as follows
1. That I am 69 years of age
2. That I knew and was well acquainted with Richard Harger late of Settle
aforesaid Plumber & Glazier deceased and who died on the 4th day of
Dec 1833 and that he was my paternal uncle
3. That my paternal Grandfather Joseph Harger was as I have always understood
only once married namely to one Agnes Peel of Lawkland in the parish of
Clapham and that they were married at the Parish church at Giggleswick and
having looked upon the Paper Writing or Certificate of Marriage now produced
and shown to me marked with the Letter A I say that I believe the same relates
to the Marriage of my said Grandfather and the said Agnes my Grandmother.
4. That my said Grandmother was sometimes called Nancy and that there was
issue of such marriage as I have also always understood heard from and been
told by my late father and dec'd members of our family the following children
namely Agnes Harger William Harger Joseph Harger (who died in infancy and
have always understood) Robert Harger (my father) Eli Harger and son named
Joseph Harger and Rd Harger and I never heard of there being any other children.
The said William Harger was the eldest son of such marriage and the said
Richard Harger was the youngest son of the marriage and having looked upon
the certificate papers writings or Certificates of Baptism now produced
and shown to me marked with the letters B, C, D, E, F and G I say that the
same relate to the baptisms of the aforesaid children of my said grandfather
and having looked up the paper writing certificate of burial produced and
shown to me marked with the letters I say that I believe the same relates
to the burial of the son of my grandfather named Joseph who died in infancy.
5. My said Grandfather and Grandmother and all their said Children have
been dead many years and having looked upon the paper writings or Certificate
of Burial now produced and shown to me marked with the Letter "H"
I say that I believe that the same relates to the burial of my said Grandfather
[Paragraph only in the "blue coloured" draft and somewhat illegible]
: 6. My said Grandfather's Son Rd Harger in the year 1828 purchased from
John Procter Trustees certain closes of land situate in the township of
Settle aforesaid called the Three Newfields with a barn thereon containing
in statute measure 12 3 16 and which are now better known by the description
contained in the schedule below.
6. That the said Richard Harger was only once married that I ever heard
of namely to Isabella Lister and having looked upon the Certificate of Marriage
now produced and shown to me marked with the Letter "I" I say
that I believe that the same relates to the said Marriage of the said Richard
7. That the said Richard Harger died in the month of December One Thousand
eight hundred and thirty three and was buried at the Parish Church of Giggleswick
aforesaid and he left his Widow Isabella Harger him surviving and she died
in the Month of February One thousand eight hundred and forty three and
was also buried at the Parish Church of Giggleswick aforesaid I was present
at the funeral of my said Uncle Richard and also of that of his said Widow
and having looked up the paper writings or certificates of burial now produced
and shown to me marked with the Letters K and L I say that the same relate
to the Burial of my said Uncle Richard and his said Widow
8. That the said Richard Harger never had any issue.
[Paragraph only in the "blue coloured" draft and somewhat illegible]
: 9. That the said closes of land were as I have always been given to understand
disposed of by the Will of my said uncle Rd Harger and I say that of my
own knowledge my Uncle Wm Harger entered into possession of them as the
Heir at Law of the said Richard Harger [illegible] and continued possession
of them from the time he so [illegible] until his death in the year 1854
And I do make the solemn declaration etc
People mentioned in the 1879 Statutory Declaration
HARGER, Joseph28 Mar 173301 Jan 1786GiggJoseph & Agnes married 2 June 1768
PEEL, Agnes13 Sep 174104 Aug 1824GiggAgnes sometimes known as Nancy
HARGER, William03 Mar 177127 Jan 1854SettleMary HoldenFarmer; daug Isabella marr Robert Slinger
HARGER, Joseph25 Apr 177321 Dec 1778GiggN/Adied aged 5
HARGER, Robert26 Dec 177515 Sep 1848GiggAgnes HallpikeJoiner & cabinet maker
HARGER, Eli28 Dec 177712 Jul 1845GiggMary JohnsonNaked Man
HARGER, Joseph23 Jan 178010 Jun 1848SettleEllen HoldenRoyal Oak
HARGER, Richard19 May 178204 Dec 1833GiggIsabella ListerPlumber
HARGER, Joseph19 Dec 180914 Apr 1886SettleMargaret BaldwinJoiner & cabinet maker; writer of Declaration & son of Robert above
Tree for people noted in Statutory Declarations (also available as separate download SVG )
Credits: thanks to Nick Delves for finding and sharing the Statutory Declaration
draft documents and realising their value; to Pamela Jordan on Back
in Settle Facebook page for help with deciphering some of the more impenetrable
hand-writing, and to Sarah Lister for throwing some light on the history and
reasons for the Statutory Declarations being written..
The document may also be loaded onto the Dales
Community archive. The original two documents may find their way to the
Museum in due course.