A History of Rawdon

Persons Places and Prejudices by D. C. Willcock

Hirds and Marshalls

"But I knawed a Quaaker feller as often ‘as towd me this, Doan’t marry for munny, but go wheer munny is.”

Tennyson

These are two once influential dissenting families in Rawdon which have virtually disappeared without trace in the area.

Hirds

1

There are nine Hird tombstones close to the outside of the south wall of St. Peter’s Church and Palliser says that there were probably others which were covered by the south aisle when the Church was extended in 1868. What he did not notice was that one couple, Nathaniel and Elizabeth, (died 1747 and 1749 respectively) are commemorated on two separate stones! As for the first Baptist graveyard in Cragg Wood, of the 28 recorded inscriptions, 10 relate to Hirds.

Palliser continues, rather vaguely, to say "several members of the family appear to have taken a prominent part in the government of the township”2 but gives no details. However, it is known that members of the family were actively involved with the foundation of the three oldest places of worship in the village. Thomas,3 was a Churchwarden at St. Peter’s in 1684, the year of its consecration, again in 1700 and also an Overseer of the Poor in that year. John was trustee on the foundation of the Friends Meeting House in 1697 and had been involved in the earlier purchase of the Burial Ground in 1692. Another John, of Crowtrees, was an original trustee of the first Baptist Chapel4 in 1712.

Though they were rarely described as other than ‘Yeoman’ or ‘Clothier’ it is significant that in the Land Tax Assessments of 1770 the rentals of the family were in excess of those of the Rawdons and almost in excess of those of the Emmotts. They were:

  • Dr. William Hird £79.0.0.
  • Benjamin Hird £62.15.0.
  • John Hird £62.13.0.5

Towards the end of the 18th century there appears to have been at least four distinct families with different religious leanings, namely:

  • Hirds of Upper and Lower Woodhouse - Quaker (the senior branch)
  • Hirds of Buckstones - Baptist and Anglican
  • Hirds of Crowtrees and Lane Head - Baptist
  • Hirds of Benton Hill - Quaker

All their estates lay along the axis of the Bradford-Pool road and despite religious differences there seems to have been a degree of family unity.

Upper and Lower Woodhouse

In 1594 John Hird of Braithwaite, Keighley purchased from Arthur Maude of Riddlesden6 an undivided half share in the Manor of Lower Woodhouse. This was basically the present Woodhouse Grove and Brontë House estates with the intervening land and may well have included other land. In 1607 he purchased the other half share from George Rawdon (see p 9). John was the grandfather of John Hird who died at Lower Woodhouse in 1719 as his tombstone, discovered in 1954 during excavations for extensions to the school and covered by some five feet of soil, reads:

"Hic jacet Johannis Hird in hac sua terra sepultum qui obit 2 April Ano. Dom. 1719. Aetat 76.”

(Here lies the body of John Hird buried at his own request in his own land 2nd April 1719, aged 76)

Quaker records show that the place where he was buried was his orchard. Apparently it was not uncommon at the time for Quakers to be buried in their own land. He, or his family, obviously had enough Latin to prepare an epitaph.

There is a pedigree in Bradford Reference Library, which shows a William Hird of Braithwaite7 with a nephew William of Apperley. There is also a reference to William of Clayton (fl. 1724) who bore arms, namely three stags. William of Apperley, a nephew of the last mentioned John became a trustee of the Rawdon Quaker Meeting House in 1733 and of the Quaker Burial Ground in Westfield Lane, Idle in 1745. When he died in 1762 he was a wealthy man owning substantial land to the south of the river including Simpson Green Farm, Idle which he left to his daughter Christiana. He had two sons and one daughter. One son, William, became a doctor practising in Leeds,8 and his executors sold the Lower Woodhouse estate in 1788. The other son, Benjamin, lived at Benton Hill. It was he who gave further land to the Quaker Meeting House in 1791 and died, I believe, not long thereafter. Christiana married John Hustler (1715-90) of Undercliffe Hall, Bradford in 1763. He has been described as the "father of the Bradford Woollen Trade” and was one of the main movers for the construction of the Leeds and Liverpool Canal with its link, now closed, from Shipley to Bradford. He was also one of the founders of the Friends Provident Insurance Co. and Hustlergate, Bradford is named after him. Their grandson, another John, married Elizabeth Pearse of Darlington of another leading Quaker family.

It is evident that the Upper Woodhouse estate was split from the lower estate at some time in the 18th century but it is not clear which member of the family lived there. By the 1790s it had come into the possession of Richard Hird (see below) who sold it some time before 1818 to William Leavens.9 Pictures of that house before its demolition in 1876 show a modest 18th century house with 19th century additions.

Crowtrees and Lane Head

10

This was Crowtrees Farm which still exists to the west of Apperley Lane and gives the appearance in parts of having been built about 1700. The estate contained some sandstone quarries, one of which is still worked. There were at least four Christopher Hirds, the first being born in 1656. He was a trustee of the Quaker and Baptist School (see p. 38) in 1703. The second lived 1785-1716 and the third married Susannah (?née Kenyon of Yeadon) and built Lane Head House11 a very attractive Georgian house at the junction of Apperley and Micklefield Lanes in 1765.

The Lane Head land had formed part of the Crowtrees land. Christopher was also much involved in the building of the second Baptist Chapel in Micklefield Lane about the same time. His widow Susannah was the "Madame Hird with the seven daughters" referrred to by Cudworth. His son, the fourth and final Christopher, was so infirm that he rode into the chapel and up to his pew on a pony. This tale had survived in folk memory when Cudworth was writing a century later.

The last Christopher died in 1785 at only 38 years of age. His will names his sisters as Mary, Anna, Susannah, Harriet and Margaret12 (two must have died young as had three brothers). His estate included land in Rawdon, Yeadon, Idle Moor, Eccleshill, Manningham and Allerton.13

Mary married Robert Jones, Susannah, William Sing and died in 1789, Harriet, Michael Humble, a Liverpool cotton broker and Margaret (Peggy) Dr. John Lloyd Morgan of Haverford West, Pembrokeshire. She died in 1832 leaving her property to her husband who had also acquired other Hird properties by auction in 1828. Ultimately all the Crowtrees land was sold to the Crompton-Stansfields of Esholt and then in 1904 to Bradford Corporation.

Buckstones

Buckstones is the older property less than 150 yards from the famous rock (see p. 10). It is now called Grange Thorpe and situated to the rear of the house now called Apperley Grange, but until the 1930s referred to as Buckstone House (see p. 48). Two separate Hird families may have lived at Buckstones. John Hird, son of 'twice buried' Nathaniel and Elizabeth and described as a tallow chandler married Elizabeth Rhodes of Menston in 1741 and their son, another Nathaniel, was born in 1742. By his will of 1748 John left an annuity of £2.0.0. to the (perpetual) curate and churchwardens of Rawdon Church for "the relief of decayed clothiers provided they were not Dissenters". The annuity was charged on certain real property but has long since ceased to be paid. He was obviously an Anglican. He may also have been the same John Hird who when a dispute arose in 1740 between the then Rector of Guiseley and the Layton representatives as to the right of presentation to Rawdon Church, made with others, an affidavit in support of the Laytons, in whose favour the dispute was settled. It is difficult to be sure of his date of death as there were John Hirds who died in 1750, 1751, and 1753.

Richard Hird of Buckstones, born 1746, a younger brother of Nathaniel jnr. was a wealthy man by the time of his death in 1794, being one of the original partners in the Low Moor Ironworks, South Bradford. This was a very large estate in area, rich in coal and iron ore, belonging to Edward Leeds14 (né Royds, he assumed the name of Leeds in marrying the daughter of Robert Leeds of Milford, near Tadcaster) of Royds Hall, Wibsey. As a result of notorious high living, even by 18th century standards, Leeds was in serious financial trouble. The estate was offered unsuccessfully for sale in 1782, 1786 and 1787. Ultimately Leeds committed suicide and the estate was purchased in 1788 by John Preston, Richard Hird and John Jarrett for £33,200 (over £360,000 today). A bargain even by values of those days as it had been on offer at £45,000.

Little could they have dreamed that revolution would break out in France the following year leading to a quarter of a century of European war with vast demands for iron products and equally vast profits for the company. (When William Pitt introduced income tax in 1799 to pay for the wars, the company declared profits of £60,000 per annum - compare this with the purchase price). Shortly after the purchase Preston withdrew from the partnership which then became Hird, Jarrett, Dawson15 and Hardy.16

In 1791 Richard Hird built Low Moor House at the junction of Netherlands Avenue and Hird Road, Low Moor for the better management of the works. It still exists and had been used for many years past as a doctor’s surgery. He had two daughters and the elder, Sarah Elizabeth, married the Rev. Lamplugh Wickham (1768-1842), Prebendary of York and Vicar of Paull, near Hedon on Humberside. Her father’s will left his Rawdon estate to her provided that any husband took the name of Hird, which the Vicar did on his wedding day in 1795.

It is worth looking at his ancestry. Both Lamplughs and Wickhams were very prominent clerical families. Wickhams originated in Oxfordshire in the 12th century. William was Bishop of Winchester and later of Lincoln (died 1595). His grandson, Tobias, was Dean of York and his grandson, Henry, D.D. and J.P., a Fellow of Trinity College, Cambridge and Chaplain to the then Princess of Wales, was Rector of Guiseley 1724-92. His first wife was Ann Calverley, daughter of William Calverley, twice Lord Mayor of Leeds, who descended from the Calverleys of Calverley. The Rector and his wife had one son, Thomas, who having run away from school was serving in the army of General Wade by the age of 15 and later as gentleman ranker in the Piedmontese Army. Eventually the Rector bought him a commission in the 1st Foot (i.e. Grenadier) Guards. After his father’s death he retired to Cottingley Hall, Bingley and was appointed a J.P. He married Elizabeth, daughter of the Rev William Lamplugh, Vicar of Dewsbury. They had two sons. The elder, William Wickham Wickham was a diplomat, M.P. and a minister in the governments of Pitt the Younger and Lord Granville. The younger son was Sarah Elizabeth’s husband.

Lamplughs were a family settled at Lamplugh, near Loweswater, Cumberland since at least the 12th century. Thomas was Archbishop of York 1688-91. His grandson, another Thomas, married Honor Challenor who claimed descent from Edward III through various families and from them descended the Rev. William. The vicar appears to have spent little time at Paull, where no doubt, he employed a curate to mind the shop. He lived in a house in Chapel Lane, Bradford, later occupied by Titus Salt, between Ebenezer Chapel and the old Brewery (Whitakers), part of the site of the present Odeon cinema. He sat as a J.P. in Bradford and was a governor of Bradford Grammar School, 1818-35.

The younger daughter Christiana, married Sir Charles des Vœux (2nd Bart. 1779-1846) in 1801. He came of a Huguenot family, originally de Bacquencourt of Rouen. His father, after a career in the Honourable East India Company’s service, had settled at Portarlington, Queen’s County, Ireland. He became an Irish M.P. and was made into a baronet. Definitely a Nabob. Sir Charles had a distinguished career in the army and despite having lost a leg at Alkmaar in 1799, took part in the Battle of Waterloo. He and his wife lived in Belgrave Square, London and he became a partner in the ironworks. A descendant was Governor of Hong Kong (1887-91) but the title became extinct on the death in action of the 7th baronet in 1944.

I have dealt with the two husbands and their ancestors at some length to show how in the mercenary world of 18th century marriages they were such good catches for the daughters of an ironmaster who owned a little land. They both must have been very considerable heiresses.

The vicar and his wife had two sons, both of whom resumed the name of Wickham on the death of their father in 1842. The elder, another William Wickham Wickham, after education at Bradford Grammar School and at Oxford was called to the Bar. He became chairman of the West Riding Quarter Sesssions and of the Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway Company, no doubt a good customer for iron and steel products. In 1847 he was elected M.P. for Bradford and held the seat until his death, without issue, in 1867. He lived at Kirklees Hall, Mirfield.

The younger son, Lamplugh Wickham Wickham, (died 1888) lived at Low Moor House and at Chestnut Grove, Boston Spa and was involved in the management of the Ironworks, as was his son, another William (1836-1919) who was the grandfather of Marcus Wickham Boynton of Burton Agnes Hall,15 near Bridlington, who died without issue in 1989. There may be descendants of the Hirds through female lines but the last of the Rawdon property was sold in about 1890.

Marshalls

Like the Hirds, the Marshalls were originally Quaker or Baptist. They had been in Yeadon since at least the 1540s but it is a much more common name than Hird and it is far from easy to distinguish various lines. Perhaps they belong more to the history of Yeadon than Rawdon. There were 36 Marshall families in Yeadon in 1851.

David Marshall was the builder of Micklefield House in 1616. Slater said that Low Hall, Gill Lane, Nether Yeadon had been in the possession of the family since 1658, when Jeremiah Marshall purchased it. (Cudworth said 1684.) Jeremiah’s great grandson married Mary Cooper, a Quaker, of Crowtrees House, Leeds Road in the early 18th century. Their son was a prosperous draper in Briggate, Leeds and was the father of John Marshall (1765-1845) who started as a flax spinner at Adel and later moved to Holbeck. By the end of the Napoleonic Wars he was said to be worth £400,000 (£3,500,000 today). He became one of the M.P.s for Yorkshire in 1826 and built the extra-ordinary Egyptian style mill in Marshall Street, Holbeck, still worth a detour to see. He lived at New Grange, Headingley and later in the Lake District. His daughter Mary, married as second wife, the 1st Lord Monteagle (né Spring-Rice, a politician).

Another John Marshall married Julia Grosvenor.18 She claimed to be related to the Calverley family but if so it would be through the Oulton branch of that family who had left Calverley in the mid 15th century. Still, that meant she could trace a line back to the 12th century.

From them descended Elizabeth Marshall who married William Dinsdale19 of Otley in 1782. Their daughter Julia who owned land in her own right in the Yeadon Gill area married Richard Barwick in 1814. (Barwicks had been in the area since at least the 17th century. Francis Barwick had witnessed the deed of Francis Layton in 1653.) From them descended three generations of John Marshall Barwicks, all solicitors in Leeds, the first born in 181620 the last dying in 1961. They claimed to represent the senior line of the Marshalls and between the Wars they owned some 500 acres of land in the Low Hall area.

Notes

1. For information on the Hird family I am much indebted to Michael Hird of Beaconsfield who has done considerable work on the family. Though our separate researches mostly confirm each other, neither of us can claim that we have completely unravelled a very complicated pedigree.

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2. John (born 1676) was a churchwarden in 1707 and another John in 1720 and 1728. Nathaniel was churchwarden in 1703 and 1708. At that time it was difficult to refuse the office and it did not necessarily imply Anglicanism, e.g. Nathaniel was one of the first trustees of the Presbyterian (later Independent) Chapel at Eccleshill i.e. ‘the Upper Chapel’ in 1729.

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3. In 1682 Thomas owned land "adjoining Benton Hill”.

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4. Relations between Baptists and Quakers were very fluid in the early days of both. It was not unknown for whole congregations to switch from one to the other.

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5. Benjamin and John’s figures are so near to being equal as to suggest an equal division of land. Christopher Hird also had land in Yeadon yielding £64 p.a.

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6. The Maude family, originally de Montalt or Mahawd, had lived at East Riddlesden Hall since Doomsday. Elizabeth de Montalt, the last of her line had married Robert Paslew in 1402 and Stephen Paslew (see p. 8) may have descended from her and Arthur from a collateral Maude line. (See National Trust Handbook for East Riddlesden.) Isabel Calverley married into the Paslew family in the mid-16th century and this may have been the beginning of a connection with this area.

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7. There have been Hirds in Braithwaite since the 1530s. There still is a Hird Street in Keighley.

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8. Dr William married twice, first to Hannah Smith, by whom he only had daughters, and secondly to Sarah (Sally) Titley, a widow and the niece of Dr. John Fothergill, another Quaker who was looking for a site for a Quaker boarding school. It was on a visit to Lower Woodhouse in 1779 that he heard of a site at Ackworth near Pontefract which in due course became Ackworth School.

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9. In 1814, 44 acres of land to the north of the Woodhouse Grove estate became available on the market. This may well have been Hird land between the school and the Acacia estate. The school needed more land but not so much and Richard Fawcett (see p. 46) offered to buy the whole and sold what was needed to the school. This could well have been when William Leavens acquired Upper Woodhouse (see p. 45).

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10. Not to be confused with Crowtrees House, Leeds Road (see p. 57).

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11. Between 1848 and 1851 it was occupied by the newly married W.E. Forster (1818-87, later of the Education Act 1870) and his wife Jane, the daughter of Dr. Thomas Arnold of Rugby School. They entertained for three weeks that fractious couple Thomas and Jane Carlyle and also R.W. Emerson, the American writer. Forster had been brought up as a Quaker. His mother was a Buxton and related to Frys and Gurneys but he was forced to leave the Quakers on ‘marrying out’.

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12. Mary and Harriet (Harriet died 1805 leaving seven children) must have been the ancestors of Robert Jones, Josiah Jones and Christopher Hird Jones of Everton and Michael and Edward Humble of Birkenhead who are shown in the 1835 voters’ list for the Yeadon Vestry. The Humbles originated in Cheshire but moved to Idle. It seems that Michael returned to Cheshire.

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13. A Christopher Hird had purchased Starting Post Farm, Idle Moor in 1735. There had been horse racing there since about 1729.

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14. His brother William, a barrister, married a Stansfield of Esholt Hall. This could have been a link with Richard Hird.

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15. Joseph Dawson was Minister at Upper Chapel Idle (1766-90). Though nominally Presbyterian he preached Unitarianism and was said to have been more interested in science than religion. He was later criticised for making money out of armaments.

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16. John Hardy (1745-1806) was the agent for Walter Spencer-Stanhope M.P. of Horsforth Hall and Cannon Hall near Barnsley. He was also a Bradford solicitor and was the great-grandson of Thomas Hardy, a young servant who escaped from Ireland in 1641 with John Stanhope II. Hardy suggested to Spencer-Stanhope that he should invest in the Low Moor Company but he declined. Hardy’s son, also John, was Recorder of Leeds, M.P. for Bradford 1833-47 and the father of both Sir John Hardy 1st Baronet of Dunstall, Staffs. and of the 1st Earl of Cranbrook.

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17. There is no information as to Sarah Elizabeth Hird now at Burton Agnes.

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18. There is no link with the Westminster Grosvenors. The id has recently been carried forward by Grosvenor Mews off Whitelands.

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19. The name is preserved in Dinsdale Buildings off Gill Lane, Yeadon.

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20. He rebuilt Francis Layton’s mill in Gill Lane, though he let it.

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David Charles Willcock Born 5th October 1924 Died 22nd June 2014 aged 89

The content of the website comes from the book "A History of Rawdon" author D. C. Willcock published 2000. 400 copies were printed and sold out immediately.

Born in Horsforth 1924 David Willcock has lived most of his life in Horsforth & Rawdon. The only son of Clarence Harry Willcock (Wikipedia entry).

With a keen interest in history the content traces the development of this quintessential English village. Whilst every care was taken in the writing if you feel that there are factual errors please do suggest corrections via the contact form.

For more general enquiries Aireborough Historical Society provides a fantastic resource. D C Willcock was proud to be its Chairman in 2000.

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