The Walker & Sutherland Walker Estate.

This will be updated with new information when we find it.

We know for certain that much of the area now including Hipperholme, Lightcliffe, Norwood Green, parts of Bailiffe Bridge and Hove Edge belonged to the Walker family and would have brought them considerable rental income. What follows is an overview of the estate.

Elizabeth and Ann inherited the estate jointly when their brother, John, died in Naples in 1830 on his honeymoon. He died intestate [West Yorkshire Archives] and without an heir. Presumably their sister-in-law, Fanny (née Penfold), would have had been entitled to a ‘widow’s right’ which would have been taken from John’s estate before passing the residue to his sisters. According to entries in Anne Lister’s diaries an initial settlement of £25,000 was made to Fanny [at least £2.5M]. Most of the money was raised by the sales of shares in the Calder & Hebble and Barnsley navigation (canals) companies (£16,600) and from turnpike shares. Some expenses were granted to Samuel Washington (steward) and to James Penfold, one of her brothers. The latter received £100 including expenses for his journeys from the south coast in dealing with John’s estate.

Ann Walker added Smith House and Hoyle House Farm and land to the estate in 1842 for £3750. The previous year she had bought Green House and land between Wakefield Road and Cliff House from Joseph Armitage for £3,150. These two purchases give the impression that Ann was buying up all of the land surrounding Cliff House.

Evan Charles Sutherland Walker inherited the estate from his parents and aunt. Some parts may have been sold off during the period 1830 to 1867 for building purposes. Evan Charles donated land for the primary school and funded the building of it. The area between the school playing fields and the main road may have been sold from the estate in 1860 where Perth House and other houses in this area were built in the period 1861 to 1865.

The inflation rate from 1832 to 1867 was fairly static being negative in some years. It might be reasonable to say that Ann & Elizabeth inherited approximately the same wealth that ECSW was attempting to sell in 1867. An official inflation rate calculator has 111% for both 1832 & 1867 to 2019.

Ann independently owned property in Ovenden and Stainland. There is an undated set of rents collected from tenants and apportioned to the estates of Elizabeth Sutherland, Ann Walker senior, Ann Walker junior and John Walker. The properties cover a wide area – Honley [see separate article], Lindley, Golcar, Crimble, Scammonden, Greetland, Mixenden, Ovenden, Northowram, Southowram, Saddleworth, Halifax and Hipperholme. The total income showing was over £20,000. Golcar rental, for example, was £350 per annum and Saddleworth had a valuation of £2252. Samuel Washington was still collecting rents after Ann’s death which were transferred to Evan Charles Sutherland Walker.

There was a valuation of Listerwick Colliery amongst Ann’s papers for £377 per annum.

At some stage during the 1840s the Lancashire & Yorkshire Railway would have had to buy land from the Elizabeth’s & Ann’s estates for the new line from The Travellers through Hipperholme and Lightcliffe almost to Pickle Bridge station beyond Norwood Green. Land for Lightcliffe railway station and sidings would also have been sold. The line also past across land owned by Messrs Lister, Sunderland & Howarth. In a solicitor’s undated note, the railway paid ‘damages’ of £9,300 covering both the Lister & Walker estates. £2,200 of this was the Walker property. The balance of £7,100 was apportioned to Ann Walker as she was in possession of Shibden Hall at the time. Ann had sold land at Shaw Syke in Halifax for the line near where the first station was built for just over £1,000 and at Water Lane for £1087.

Evan Charles was very active in the community in the early to mid 1860s. Apart from providing the school he made substantial improvements to St Matthew’s Church including 2 new pulpits, some form of heating and stained glass East windows dedicated to his family [see]. An invoice for a font made of Caen stone [£25] dated 1865 has recently been found. He began to sell his assets in the area from 1860 onwards. Then in 1872 he bought Skibo Castle near Durnock in NE Scotland and left Lightcliffe.

In 1867, he had at least one legal action prior to the sale – an objection from the owner of Thornhill House – when attempting to change the bridle path which was Kirk Lane into a wider carriage way. He owned most of the land on either side of the lane. At about the same time he was taking legal action objecting to the establishment of the North Bierley Gas Board which was going through parliament. (I’ve not found a reason for this. North Bierley is several miles away.)

In the main advert for The Crow Nest Estates catalogue for April 1867 there is a description of what was for sale. It included the mansions and parks of Crow Nest and Cliffe Hill, with gardens, conservatories, vineries, stabling and carriage houses. Lidgate House, New House and Smith House are described as excellent residencies and several superior dwelling houses are highlighted. The sale is to include numerous cottages, four public houses and many sites suitable for mansions, villas and other residential or manufacturing opportunities. Nearly 700 acres are for sale including land for farming, stone extraction and coal mining.

The sale took place over 4 days and comprising 280 lots in total at the New Assembly Rooms on Harrison Road starting on Tuesday 2nd April. It involved 3 auctioneers. The first, Mr Thomas, was taken ill just before the auction, his substitute, Mr Thornton was summoned to attend a trial at Leeds Assizes and Mr Alfred Wilson took over until Mr Thornton was again available. The auction began at 3pm on the Tuesday and continued over the next 3 days with a late start on Thursday as this was market day in Bradford.

A summary appeared in the Halifax Guardian a week later detailing the auction (subsequently quoted by James Parker, Illustrated History from Hipperholme to Tong with some errors). At first glance it looks as though the record is incomplete with only a quarter of the lots sold. However in the National Archives (West Yorkshire, Calderdale) there is the auction record including the bidding offers and receipts for some deposits. This indicates that although the newspaper account didn’t cover all items, it did cover most. It looks as though there was no interest in many lots.

Of the 280 lots included in the catalogue, only 71 were sold. The auctioneer’s record also indicates where a lot was withdrawn and where the vendor had bid which seems to imply the same as a withdrawl.

Bidding for Crow Nest itself failed to reach its reserve (£50,000) despite adding lot 93 to the house. Bidding stopped at £26,000 but it was sold soon after to Titus Salt (the tenant who was created a baronet in 1869) for £28,000. Lot 93 was the piece of land south of Cliffe Hill and containing the gasworks. This supplied gas (for lighting) to Crow Nest, Cliffe Hill and Smith House.

The value of the 71 the lots sold in the auction (including Crow Nest) came to £76,846. Assuming inflation from then to now of 111%, this puts a value of £ 8,530,00 on the estate as sold. Many of the plots were sold between 1867 and 1890 when a second auction was held. Some plots would have, presumably, been sold at a discount but others would have increased in value as the population grew and the demand for land increased. Some of the sites that had stone would also have increased in value as demand increased for building and the quarries and mines became more productive as they became deeper with industrial extraction methods such as steam cranes and pumps.

Putting a paper value on Evan Charles Sutherland Walker’s total estate is impossible. An estimate is made by putting a value on the unsold lots similar to those that sold. For example simple plots of land without buildings averaged 1s 2d per square yard and there were 1,350,000 sq yds [280 acres]. A plot with stone getting was more expensive averaging 4s per sq yd.

Using this unscientific method, the estate could have been valued at £22million.

According to Parker in his Illustrated History from Hipperholme to Tong (1904), Major Stocks of Upper Shibden Hall offered Sutherland Walker 1s per square yard including any houses on it. That would have been £169,400 or £19 million.

Summary of lots.

The two mansions and Lidgate, New and Smith Houses were the main attractions. The latter referred to as ‘excellent residences’.

Other houses (some were substantial farmhouses) included Lower Smith, German, Harley Head, Green, Hoyle, Huntock, Lightcliffe, Sheard Green, Lower Crow Nest. There were at least 10 farms including Laverack Hall, Southedge, Langley’s, Mann’s, Townend’s, Knowl Top and many cottages. The public houses were The Traveller’s, The Hare and Hounds, The Sun Inn and The Horseshoes (on the opposite side of Wakefield Road to Lidgate House).

Other lots included a tannery (Lees), a surgery, a blacksmith’s workshop, 2 joiners’ shops, a maltkiln and a gasworks.

Many lots included cottages with land and several lots had stone extraction possibilities often subject to existing leases.

Some of the more important lots came with pews or half pews at Coley & Lightcliffe churches.

A number of lots were sold to existing tenants or neighbours. Jonas Foster bought Cliffe Hill and the plots between it and Wakefield Road known as Green House. It was on this land that the new St Matthew’s Church was built (largely funded by Jonas Foster) together with the terrace now known as Greenhouses. W H Ripley (later Sir) lived at Holme House and bought land adjoining the house.

Auction general remarks.

All of the estate was for sale except 2 plots reserved to protect Hipperholme School and the parsonage financially. The mansions had been recently refurbished. Fixtures and furnishings belonging to the vendor were included in the lots. Lightcliffe is said to be a healthy neighbourhood and has a plentiful supply of excellent water. There are then specific details of mineral rights on plots where there are leases in place, for example, for stone on one plot until 1881 and coal for the Low Moor Company for 50 years from 1859.

A complete set of plans, lot descriptions and details of Crow Nest and Cliffe Hill mansions is available in PDF format from the Central Library.

Details of Ann Walker’s will are available including details of specific bequests to her close family and god children.

Ann’s charity donations. Ann continued in the family tradition of providing for the poor of Lightcliffe. Grandfather William was a major benefactor and persuaded several others including the curate Rev Rich Sutcliffe to do similarly. Ann’s charity was established in 1841 to allow £10 to be distributed to the poor on Christmas Day each year. Details are in the West Yorkshire Archives under St Matthew’s Church, Lightcliffe as are the accounts of payments to individuals in 1867, 1868 & 1869. There was a rationalisation of several similar Lightcliffe charities in more recent times. [details also in the Archives.]

Further information.

In 1862, ECS-W sold holdings in Golcar & Slaithwaite for £10,600 and in Lindley for £5,930.

In 1860, he gave land for the building of St Thomas’s Church in Greetland.

The Sutherland-Walker Act of 1866 gave him permission to drop the Walker part of the name and to sell the estate.

Black Horse estate (where?) in total £6621, Stainland Moulson Place £1025,

Bailey Hall to Swan Banks Colliery £1865, Scammonden 3 lots £1043 and Greetland 20 lots for £8929.

In 1890 most of what remained of the estate in Hipperholme, Lightcliffe, Norwood Green Bailiffe Bridge, Southowram and Shibden was auctioned. A few lots didn’t sell at auction but appear to have been sold soon afterwards. The amount raised was in excess of £60,000.

ECS-W died in 1913.


Ian Philp March 2020

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