Robert Parker

Robert Parker was born in Slaidburn in the Forest of Bowland. He was the 6th child and 3rd son of George Parker, a yeoman farmer, whose family owned the Gamblehole estate there.

His father died in 1736.

In 1737, his mother, Elizabeth [1???-1741], married John Dickinson.

Robert studied law in London where he was articled to N. & M. Coulthurst.

He then came to live in Halifax after being offered a partnership with John Baldwin – see Baldwin & Parker. As a Halifax solicitor – from 1768 – he took an interest in the local coiners and was responsible for the apprehension of many of the felons. In November 1769, he attended the enquiry which had been called by the Marquis of Rockingham to discuss the problem of the coiners and the murder of William Deighton.

On 19th November 1754, he married (1) Ann Prescott.

Ann was 18 years older than him


  1. John [who died at the age of 14 months]
  2. Margaret [1758-1775]
  3. Robert

The family lived at the Lecturer's House, Causeway for a time.

They moved to live at The Square.

In 1761, the Baldwin-Parker partnership ended. He bought Calico Hall and lived there from 1776.

In 1782, his wife Ann died.

In 1786, he married (2) Mary Burnett, his housekeeper.

There were no children by the second marriage.

In 1770 – following his arrest of the coiners – he was appointed County Solicitor to the Crown, and was Crown Prosecuting Solicitor at York Assizes. In 1770, Lord Mexborough – a member of the Savile family – appointed him Chief Steward of his estates.

In 1775, he bought the Great House, Cheapside. In October 1775, he was appointed Steward of the Honour of Pontefract.

His London agents were Coulthurst & Farrar.

He was one of the subscribers to the Leeds Infirmary [1792].

In 17??, he set up a court in Halifax for the collection of small debts. This became Halifax County Court.

He was a subscriber of Warley Grammar School.

He planted trees on Beacon Hill.

He was a founding partner in the firm of Halifax solicitors which became Finn Gledhill.

He was solicitor for Captain Sutherland which produced a conflict of interests when dealing with matters concerning the Walker family estate.

It has been said that Robert was the model for Heathcliff in Emily Brontë's novel Wuthering Heights.

He died 23rd May 1796, [aged 66].

The epitaph on the memorial for Robert & Mary in Halifax Parish Church is recorded in the book Monumental & Other Inscriptions

See John Marshall and James Wigglesworth

© Malcolm Bull 2024
Revised 11:23 / 5th February 2024 / 6186

Page Ref: X16

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