Robert Parker of Halifax, solicitor (1731-1796)

 The extensive catalogue of the records of this influential Halifax solicitor is now available online – over 3700 entries!

Robert Parker moved to Halifax in 1753 and set up on his own from 1761, his practice becoming both widespread and lucrative. From 1768, he took an interest in the notorious local coiners led by “King David Hartley”, and was responsible for the apprehension of many of the felons. He was on the Commission of the Peace for the West Riding and in November 1769 he attended the enquiry conducted by local magistrates at the Talbot Inn to discuss the problem of the counterfeiting coiners and the murder of an excise man, William Dighton. In 1770, following his arrest of the coiners, he was appointed County Solicitor to the Crown, and was Crown Prosecuting Solicitor at York Assizes. He was also Chief Steward of Lord Mexborough’s estate and Steward of the Honour of Pontefract.  

Certificate in support of Thomas Sigston of Leeds as Keeper of Batley Gaol 1786

The collection very much reflects his business and there are only occasional glimpses of Parker’s private life in the letters.  The tragic death of his only daughter, Margaret, at the age of 17, and the strange illness which affected his only son, are merely hinted at. The death of his first wife in February 1782 is not mentioned anywhere. References to his second wife, Mary Burnett, whom he married in 1786, are more numerous. Parker died on 23 May 1796, aged 64, leaving a large fortune to his second wife, who survived him less than a year and died childless in January 1797. Parker’s practice passed out of the hands of his family as soon as he died. 

Even after the First World War, however, his fame as a lawyer was still remembered in Halifax. The business after his death later became Walker, Son and Dickie and later Finn Gledhill. 

To view original documents or for further information on this collection [collection reference RP], please contact our Calderdale office 

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