St Andrew's Church, Slaidburn, circa 1910

Last updated 14 February 2018


The History

of the

King-Wilkinson Family

and the

Slaidburn Estate

Chris Spencer


A new and substantial hardback book describing the formation of the Slaidburn Estate and containing over 450 pages, and 225 illustrations

To be published in June - July 2018

A much anticipated, new history of Slaidburn, which will complement the ‘Short History of the Parish of Slaidburn’ by Alice Peel published in the 1930s, Chris Spencer’s forthcoming book will be substantial and will detail all the purchases of property made by the Wilkinson (later King-Wilkinson) family in and around Slaidburn over a period of several hundred years. It has been possible to trace almost every conveyance of every farm and every cottage in the district. The family made purchases of property in Slaidburn, Newton in Bowland, Easington (both Higher and Lower) and also further afield in Chatburn near Clitheroe, as well as owning property in Blackburn.


Leonard Wilkinson came from Aysgarth to live at Swinshaw farm in Dale Head in the 1730s and thereafter began buying up nearby lands. His sons bought more nearby farms (Bridge House, Cocklick, Hesbert Hall, Eggberry House and Black House).

Signature of Leonard Wilkinson in 1763

(Lancashire Archives DDX 2480 - C J Spencer collection ©)

By the late 1790s, Leonard’s grandson, another Leonard Wilkinson, began buying up farms, cottages and lands in and around Slaidburn village, and also in Lower Easington and Newton in Bowland. By 1927, the King-Wilkinson family owned over 5000 acres in and around Slaidburn, scattered over 40 farms.


Large parts of the outlying Estate were disposed of in 1927. Procter’s farm, one of many Slaidburn Estate farms until 1927, had been bought for £7000 in 1883. With a reserve of just £2500 at auction in 1927, it and many other estate farms failed to sell. Why? The big sale of 1927 is covered in detail in Chris Spencer’s book and the aftermath is chronicled via a Northallerton property speculator and All Souls’ College, Oxford, into the modern era.

Arms used by the Wilkinson, later King-Wilkinson family of Slaidburn

Where was the Hare and Hounds Inn in Newton in Bowland?


Where in Slaidburn village is Parker House (built in 1707)? Place Houses? Bannister’s? Bait Hall? Bond’s? All are still standing but their former names are long forgotten in the mists of time.


Which well-known architect designed Croasdale Bank near the War Memorial in Slaidburn? Which other house in Slaidburn did he design?


Ingbreak, Barcroft and Raw Moor were once well-known, large areas of agricultural land around Slaidburn but their names have vanished from the maps? Where were they?


What did ‘Bounty’ look like? The Reverend Henry Wiglesworth’s favourite hunting hound and after which the village inn is named.


Why did Sir Thomas Spencer Wells, Queen Victoria’s surgeon, visit Slaidburn twice in 1883? Why did the Wilkinson family take the additional name of King later that same year?


What is the true story of Dunnow Hall? Why was it built and why did the King-Wilkinson family never live there?


How much did the Wilkinsons pay for the Town Head Estate in 1855?

William King-Wilkinson junior (1862-1939) by Vandyke 1885
(King-Wilkinson Deeds DDKW Box 286 ©


What was the family’s connection with the composer Edward Elgar?


What did Whiteholme look like before the present house was built in the 1850s?


The old Slaidburn rectory built in the 1600s was demolished in early 1863 to make way for a grand Victorian replacement. What did the original building from the 1600s look like?


All the answers will be found in Chris Spencer’s forthcoming book to be published in Summer 2018.


About the Author


Chris Spencer is a graduate of Imperial College, London and has been researching the Slaidburn area for over 40 years. Recently retired from teaching at Clitheroe Royal Grammar School, he has now catalogued the 400 boxes of King-Wilkinson family deeds and papers in the Lancashire Archives and this family estate collection has provided the bulk of the material for his forthcoming book.


To subscribe to this book, please send a cheque for £20 to:

Chris Spencer
17 Black Bull Lane

Postage and packing to UK addresses is included in the above price.

Your name and town/city will be added to the list of subscribers to be printed towards the front of the book if you so wish

Subscription Deadline: 24 March 2018
Enquiries - please email Chris Spencer at:

Chris Spencer, Geneaologist and Local Historian, Slaidburn and Bowland

Personal Profile

I graduated with a 2.1 degree in physics from Imperial College, South Kensington, London in 1982 and taught for just over three years in Finchley, before returning to Preston, and thereafter teaching in Lancashire.

I have over thirty five years' experience in genealogy, family history, local history and palaeography. I specialise in Slaidburn's history and the genealogy of the inhabitants, and have built up a very large collection of material relating to the parish of Slaidburn (Yorkshire pre 1974, but now Lancashire) but also the wider Bowland area, encompassing West Bradford and Grindleton in particular. I also have extensive experience of family history and local history research across much of West Yorkshire and the whole of Lancashire. I am a regular researcher at the Lancashire Archives in Preston.

In 1994 and 1998, Reg Postlethwaite and I transcribed and published in hardback two volumes of the parish registers of St Andrew's Church, Slaidburn, covering the years 1600 to 1837/52. There are available in many Lancashire libraries. I am currently transcribing (and translating from Latin pre 1733) all 280 of the court rolls for the Manor of Slaidburn.

From 1994, I was a committee member of the Friends of Lancashire Archives, and eventually membership secretary, vice chairman and then chairman for a couple of years until 2002. Since retiring, I have re-joined the Committee of the FLA as Vice-Chairman from October 2014.

I have published numerous research materials concerning the local history of Slaidburn, including a transcript of the 1841 census, an index to Slaidburn wills, four volumes of will abstracts and three volumes of transcripts of the court rolls of the Manor of Slaidburn. More publications about Slaidburn history are in the pipeline.

Postcard c1905 of Slaidburn Green and the New Bridge

Some years ago, I was fortunate enough to purchase a large archive of original documents relating to the parish of Slaidburn, which I am gradually cataloguing and then depositing in the Lancashire Archives in Preston (see their online catalogue, reference DDX 2480).

Recent papers and articles which I have co-authored include:

'The Slaidburn Poor Pasture: changing configurations of popular politics in the eighteenth- and early nineteenth-century village' by Professor R W Hoyle and C J Spencer, published in 'Social History' Vol. 31 No. 2 May 2006

'The Lordship of Bowland' by C J Spencer & S W Jolly, published in the 'The Escutcheon', the Journal of the Cambridge University Heraldic and Genealogical Society, 2010

'Courts of the Lord King of Bowland and His Court House' was the title of a well-attended talk I gave in October 2012 at the 'Hark to Bounty' in Slaidburn in the old Court Room upstairs; the history of this building is significantly under-estimated and parts of the right-hand portion I believe to date from c1577 when the Court House for the Manor of Slaidburn was moved to this site near the Cross.

'The Politics of the chancel screen: Samuel Moore, Slaidburn, and the parochial dynamics of Laudianism' by James Mawdesley & Chris Spencer, published in 'The Seventeenth Century' in November 2014. This paper won the first prize in the 2014 Beresford Competition for The Yorkshire History Prize, sponsored by The Yorkshire Society, and can be downloaded free of charge by clicking here.

Details of my transcriptions of Slaidburn and Bowland genealogy and local history material available for sale are detailed here on this website. I can also offer professional research services for local history, genealogy and document transcription and Latin translation. I have considerable expertise in palaeography and can offer expert advice and assistance with reading and interpretating difficult handwriting, abbreviated Latin in documents pre 1733, etc.