"You think this is the end, well it is”
As I have said this is no thesis but a few final thoughts remain. First, the degree of intermarriage among big
textile families in Bradford was every bit as complicated if not as arranged, as that between the reigning house of
Europe! Even so the ramifications of Milligan/Briggs connections in the 19th century in a small area are remarkable.
Nathaniel Briggs was at Cliffe Cottage, his son Arthur at Cragg Royd, his parents-in-law the Womersleys and later
the Fisons at Mawcroft; Robert Milligan ,brother-in-law of Briggs and followed by W.H. Ripley and Susan at Acacia.
The Ripley’s eldest son Edward married the Major-Generals daughter, Robert’s nephew, Harrison Milligan was at Benton
Park and his daughter Lydia married Harry Dewhirst whose father William was at Woodlawn and his brother Herbert at
Robert's brother Walter was at Lowroyd and his niece Jane married to Charles Stanfield at Woodcliffe, whilst
Robert’s brother Thomas Milligan’s widow Mary remarried to Edmund Wilkinson Bell and lived at Holmehurst.
As for connections other than by blood or marriage, Thomas Fison’s brother William's business partner W.E.
Forster lived briefly at Lane Head, Robert Milligan’s business partner Henry Forbes was at Summer Hill and his
former employee J.V. Godwin at Micklefield House and later Crowtrees House. What a cast for a soap opera!
There was never the gap between old money and trade that many Victorian novelists imagined. We have seen whom
Richard Hird’s daughters married, a Ripley married a Green-Emmott; a White, of the family that Charlotte Brontë
thought rather common married a Stott-Stanhope of a family dating back to about 1300, the younger lines of which
had provided three earls, Chesterfield, Harrington and Stanhope.
Secondly, it is easy to forget today how important denominational differences were even as late as 1914. Places
of worship were centres of social as much as religious life and few married out of their own sect. Indeed the
Quakers completely forbade it until about 1890. Moreover, though it may not be correct to say so in these ecumenical
days there was a distinct pecking order among the denominations. Obviously the Established Church, provided it was
decently low, took precedence. Wesleyans tended to look down on Ranters and all sorts of Methodists had little time
for Old Dissent. The whole lot of them were apprehensive of Catholics be they Roman or Anglo. Quakers were difficult
to place. They were, and are, good people and this country owes much to them. But their distinctive quirks, "thee and
thou”, their liturgy of silence, unswerving pacifism and the rejection of even the 39th of the Anglican Articles set
them apart from all other denominations. However some of them became very wealthy and serious money, then as now,
had to be taken seriously.
It is commonplace to say that Dissenters by reason of their exclusion for so long from the older universities,
public office and the armed services turned to commerce and industry and with their life style of plain living and
high thinking prospered and some exceedingly. But as they prospered they and their children tended to drift to
Wesleyanism and/or the Established Church. "It was the dissenters second horse which took him to Church.” So, for
better or for worse, chapels and schools have closed and become housing sites and many people do not know from which
place of worship they stay away.
I hope that by A.D.2100 when the A65 is a six lane highway, the top of the Billing a helicopter pad, Cragg
Wood a theme park, St. Peter’s and Trinity Churches old persons homes, Woodhouse Grove a luxury hotel and Benton
Park a factory (or perhaps vice versa) some future historian of Rawdon may find this glimpse into the past of some
Rawdon Billing - Under Threat
The views from the top of Rawdon Billing take some beating. The area is open access - free for everyone to enjoy. The
threat by Leeds Council to remove the land from the green belt status would ruin forever the maginficient views which stretch for many
miles in every direction. Once built upon this land will be lost for ever.
The area cannot take further development, the traffic on the A65 is frequently
bumper to bumper and practically stationary. For those who travel around Britain when you return to Leeds, one can see the city
is on the verge of grid lock
and becoming a no go place for those wanting to setup businesses.
Rawdon Billing Action Group has the interests of future
generations in mind by opposing Leeds Councils ill considered plans. Please support this campaign to preserve this unique landscape for
future generations to enjoy.