A History of Rawdon

Persons Places and Prejudices by D. C. Willcock

Emmotts and Green-Emmotts
of Rawdon

"Gentility is naught but ancient riches”

William Cecil, Lord Burleigh

The Emmotts were certainly new money. They first appeared at Emmott Hall, near Colne, Lancashire early in the 16th century. The line of succession is complicated and reference can be made to Appendix D. It is not made easier by changes of name on various occasions.

Burke’s Landed Gentry (1965) says that Christopher Emmott (1694-1745) "acquired a large fortune in London”. What it does not say is that he made it in the dreaded trade’! Moreover the acquisition of the shares in the Layton estate by Christopher was complicated. However, before this took place there was an interesting altercation concerning Layton Hall and its contents, which no doubt still included the two portraits and the embroidered jacket previously referred to.

Thomas had died intestate and the devolution of the estate was governed by Henry’s will of 1702. Under this it passed to the nephews, Thomas Kirke, Thomas Robinson, William Smith and Francis Foxcroft and in 1718 Kirke’s son, Layton Kirke, sold his share to Sir Walter Calverley of Esholt Hall (1671-1749, 1st Bart.).1

Henry’s will had also declared that the contents of the house should remain there "the use of them to go along with the said house”. Smith disputed this (even today it is not easy to tie up chattels) and obtained a Grant of Letters of Administration of the goods of Thomas, though as a joint heir he left them in the house for some years. When ultimately Smith removed them, perhaps in the early 1720s, John Cuttle, John Preston, William Horn and Samuel Hemmingway, who had purchased Sir Walter’s share, claimed the goods.

Smith then placed his nephew, also called Smith, in part of the hall. Sir Walter in reply:

"placed an indigent man with his wife and eight children to reside there, with the view to disturb his nephew and to spoil the furniture of the ancient manor house”, and that "they actually possessed themselves of a great part of the house, lay in the best beds and used the furniture and household goods at their will and pleasure, that the said family was so extremely sluttish and nasty, and several of the children lame and diseased, that before Smith could remove the furniture it was completely spoiled. Especially the beds which were filled with nastiness and vermin and not fit to be used”.

This problem family so disgusted Smith’s nephew that he was obliged to quit the part which he occupied and managed to get the contents away with him. Sir Walter commenced proceedings at the West Riding Quarter Sessions. Smith arrived without notice with his henchmen, assaulted and beat the wife of Barber, the caretaker (the "indigent man”) and locked her in a room. Sir Walter then sent his servant, Exley, to investigate. He too was beaten.

Sir Walter proceeded with the case at the Quarter Sessions. He alleged that Smith had failed to keep the house in repair, "that the furniture was more spoiled in two years than in many years before and that he had allowed his dogs and horses to go into the gardens and walks which destroyed the fine greens and wall trees and flowers growing there”. Smith and his associates were convicted.

This was not the end of the matter. Somehow Smith and Thomas Robinson were able to bring the matter before the Lord Chancellor in the Court of Chancery but the report of that case is incomplete and the final result is unknown.2

In 1743 a complicated exchange transaction took place. Sir Walter transferred his two shares to Emmott and paid him £4,000 (say £70,000 today). Emmott then acquired Robinson’s and Smith’s shares and the Rawdon estate was reunited. The net effect was that Sir Walter’s Esholt estate was greatly increased and Emmott’s estate in Rawdon was consolidated into a block stretching from the River Aire and Red Beck, to Well Lane and Cliffe Lane, over Larkfield Road and Canada Road to what is now the Yeadon Fountain crossroads and back down Bayton Lane. It also included some land to the North East of Bayton Lane. Such a compact area would be advantageous from a management point of view.

However Christopher Emmott did not live long to enjoy it, dying in 1745. The estate passed to his nephew Richard (né Wainhouse) of Halifax. He assumed the name of Emmott and died in 1760, being succeeded by his son, another Richard. From then onwards there appears to have been more development of the estate: Carr Lane, New York Lane, Layton Lane, earlier called Hall Lane and Knott Lane were laid out towards the end of the 18th century and they bounded the park area around Layton Hall.

Mary Susannah EmmottThe second Richard died unmarried in 1819. His niece Ellen or Eleanor married a man with the surname Oswald and is often referred to as Mrs Oswald Emmott. Her sister Susannah married George Green of Harley Street3 London and assumed the name of Green-Emmott. Under the will of the younger Richard only the Yorkshire estates devolved on Eleanor, and on her death, on Susannah’s son, Alfred Edward Green-Emmott (born 1819 and henceforth referred to as the Major General).4

A valuation made in 1814 by William Hepworth and Nicholas Brown for Poor Law Rate by order of the West Riding Quarter Sessions gives the estate as about 520 acres, comprising 32 farms or small holdings, the largest about 72 acres and only 12 of them over 20 acres. There were some 26 cottages let separately but only two at a rent of more than £1.0.0. p.a. plus two mills, Low Mill at £101.0.0. p.a. and Park Mill at £90.0.0. p.a. All told a rent roll of about £700.0.0 p.a. (say £35,000 today). In the 1838 Tithe Valuation there is a total of 115 tenants as against 60 in 1814, indicating the degree of development in the previous 25 years. There was also land in Horsforth to the East of Scotland Lane and North of Brownberrie Lane and at Haworth.5

The Major General served in the Bombay Staff Corps of the Indian Army. His brother had died in the disastrous Afghan War of 1838-42. His army career does not seem to have been particularly memorable but it is likely that he was involved in the Indian Mutiny campaign of 1857/8. He succeeded to the estate in 1870, which may have coincided with his retirement from the army. He had married Charlotte Augusta Nayland in 1848 and they had one son and three daughters.

About 1870 the Major General assumed the name of Green-Emmott-Rawdon. This was after the death of the 4th Marquis of Hastings in 1868 when there was no Rawdon left to object. Certainly he was in no way a descendant of the original Rawdon family but no doubt wished to be Rawdon of that Ilk!

He seems to have been on bad terms with his son Edward Montague Ross Green-Emmott Rawdon, who also was or had been in the army. The son lived at Brackley, Northants and was not in good health. He was entitled to some rent out of the estate, no doubt under a family settlement. The rent was not paid promptly and this led to acrimonious correspondence. About 1887 the Major General had plans drawn up for developments to the estate. The son objected and threatened, or may even have issued, legal proceedings and the plans were therefore dropped.

The Major General died in January 1890 at his house in Prince’s Square, Hyde Park, London. The body was brought back to Rawdon for burial. Neither ‘The Times’ nor ‘The Yorkshire Post’ noticed his death but the ‘Airedale & Wharfedale Observer’ of 31st January 1890 said that "he was known to have been in a pitiable state of health for some time”, and that apart from being President of Rawdon Conservative Club he had taken little part in political matters but "hundreds of villagers turned out for the funeral to honour one who had endeared himself to all by many acts of kindness and large hearted liberality”.

The son died without issue in Australia in 1895 and the estate passed to Walter Edgerton Green-Emmott6 of Emmott Hall, a grandson of Richard Emmott who died in 1819. Thus the Yorkshire and Lancashire estates were reunited. The Major General’s widow died in 1899.

Walter had married Kathleen Louise Vereker a grandaughter of the 3rd Viscount Gort.7 He does not seem to have lived at Layton Hall. They were the grandparents of Mrs Jean Mackellar, the present head of the family. There are said to be only a few farms in Rawdon now left in the estate. Layton Hall has certainly been let, either all or in part, for long periods during Emmott ownership.

As for the agents for the estate, it seems that in the 18th century they were the Houlden family who may well have lived in part of the Hall. By the 1860s it was Jeremiah Stansfield Rawson followed by Col. Charles Payne Barras, who seems to have been an energetic agent and made efforts to develop the estate. He started a brick and tile works to utilise the abundant local clay. Where? Thomas Walker (1836-1903) the father of Hargill Walker, a prominent local builder, followed. In this century the agents were Claude Barton and later J.H. Pardoe and H.B. Pardoe.


1. One of Christopher Emmott’s sisters is said to have been related by marriage to Sir Walter Calverley but I cannot trace this. The Calverley family (originally Scot, no doubt indicating their origin) had settled in Calverley by the mid-12th century. Sir Walter though he had a good income, was a big spender and had borrowed £3,000 (over £55,000 today) from Emmott on mortgage. It is noticeable how many local families have marriage links with the Calverleys and, also through the Blacketts of Newcastle-upon-Tyne, there descended from them G.M. Trevelyan, perhaps the greatest historian of the 20th century. It has been said that Sir Walter was the original of Addison's Sir Walter de Calverley.

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2. See the Bradford Antiquary, Vol IV, p. 149. As well as being incomplete, the report is garbled. It gives the judge as Lord Mansfield, instead of Lord Macclesfield.

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3. Harley Street was built about 1780 and at this date was still a good residential area. It was not taken over by the medical men until about the 1850s.

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4. Between 1877 and 1974 there was a pub at Luddenden, Halifax called 'The General Rawdon’ (now The Coach and Horses). The Major General was the ground landlord under a family trust.

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5. Haworth Old Hall and land adjacent. The old hall is now a pub but there is still a Rawdon Road in Haworth.

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6. He had assumed the name of Green-Emmott in 1897 after the death of Edward Montague Ross Green-Emmott Rawdon.

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7. It was the 6th Viscount Gort who was the V.C. and G.O.C. of the B.E.F. in France in 1940.

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8. My husband’s is descended from the Emmotts

His mother was
- Muriel Frederica Barwell, daughter of
- Frederic Walter Barwell, son of
- Frederica Emily Sophia Green-Emmott, daughter of
- Harriet Susannah Ross, daughter of
- Mary Susannah Emmott

Mary Susannah Emmott

I would like to know more about Mary Susannah and her husband, Alexander Ross. If anyone has any information regarding the above.

Please forward on to
Susan de Schulthess
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

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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 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.

Additional information about Harry Willcock.

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