The Fawkes Family and their Estates in Wharfedale, 1819-1936

Marion Sharples


Fawkes family of Farnley Hall

This is the first detailed study to be published of the Fawkes family of Farnley Hall and their estates in Wharfedale and is based primarily on hitherto little used family and estate papers. It traces the origin of the estates, their growth in the early nineteenth century into a major English land-holding, and their subsequent contraction in the interests of good management and changed land use to accommodate transport improvements and the construction of the Washburn valley reservoirs for the supply of water to Leeds. The strengths and weaknesses in the farming of the estates during the relatively prosperous years to 1870 are explored, as are the effects of the subsequent so-called ‘Great Depression’ in agriculture and the measures taken to counter them. Central to the study is the continuous dedication of successive heads of the Fawkes family to agricultural improvement through good farming practice, including stock-breeding, and the encouragement of agricultural education through local societies and colleges in Leeds and its neighbourhood.