HEBER FAMILY BRASSES
Reginald Heber came to Ilkley in 1619 and rented a dwelling and land at Austby from Sir Peter Middleton on an 18 year lease. His first wife died and he married again. His oldest son John, was born and baptised in 1621.
In 1629, Reginald was made an overseer of the parish and in 1632 a churchwarden. In 1633 he erected "a high pew in which six people may conveniently sit". However it obscured the view from the reading desk to St. Nicholas Quire and had to be removed in 1634!
In 1635 he is among those who resolved to build a school house in Ilkley and pay for it. In 1638 he is spoken of as Reginald Heber, Esq. of Holling Hall.
Of his seven children, four died in his lifetime. The brasses tell the tragic story of a black fever that struck the household in 1649. Captain John, 28, (who fought for Parliament in the Civil War) Letitia, 18 and Christopher, 26 all died within days in April and May. Reginald himself died at the age of 79, in 1653, a sad person, but full of Christian hope, as the brasses tell.
The famous Bishop Heber was descended from Reginald's brother Thomas, a branch of the family that never lived in Ilkley.
After the family tragedy, the second son, also Reginald Heber, returned to Ilkley from his legal work in the Inner Temple, London. He became churchwarden in 1660. He died in 1697 leaving £200 to Ilkley Parish Church and school, a magnificent bequest.
Master Reginald Heber, who died aged 2 years in 1687, is the grandson of Captain John Heber. His father, John Heber was elected churchwarden at the age of 21. His wife Sarah had five children and died aged 33. Only one child, Sarah, survived. She married Richard Strother, gentleman, of Holling Hall and Otley, Attorney-at-law. This Sarah died in 1731, three months after the death of her 9 month old son, Reginald.