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The Stricklands of Headley Hall

Barwicker No. 127
Summer 1918

Readers of The Barwicker No 123 may recall the search for the grave of my three times great grandfather, Francis Strickland, the Leeds corn dealer who died in 1853. His remains are now in a mass grave in Harehills Cemetery having been moved there in 1908 from Quarry Hill.

Francis's grandfather was also an interesting man. Samuel Strickland (1723-1768) married Mary Swan in 1753 and after her death married Elizabeth Little in 1764 in York. He farmed in the Camblesforth/Drax area, but had a Post Mill for his com grinding at Lamel Hill in the area near Walmgate on the Heslington Road on the outskirts west of York.

In the Civil Wars between King Charles and Cromwell in the 1600's, Lamel Hill - being on high ground - formed part of Chromwell's defences and earth works, long before Samuel bought the area for his milling activities.

In the early 1800's the young artist John W Turner toured the countryside with his sketch book. He stayed in the York area and sketched a long distance view of the York skyline including the post mill at Lamel Hill and in the foreground men can be seen mending the mill sails. Turner's sketch book can be seen in the Tate Gallery Archives in London. The mill has now gone but the area is now a pleasant walk towards the university.

Samuel had many children but only one son survived. He was named Francis (1752 - 1827) being the father of the Francis Strickland of Leeds mentioned above. In turn Francis had six children by his first wife, Ann Wilson and one by his second wife Hannah Tinsdale, named Samuel (1806 - 1867). The Strickland families farmed many of the arable farms in the area south of Selby and in the Epsworth area of North Lincolnshire.

This Samuel Strickland was later also a farmer and a miller at Drax in Castle Hills with a large farmhouse and land. He married Ann Norwood in 1828 and they had four children, Hannah. Elizabeth, Francis and Michael.

In 1859 Samuel and Ann were able to become the tenants of Headley Hall farmer near Bramham. taking over from Jonathan Gibson and paid a four figure surety amount for the tenancy. The Hall was large with six bedrooms and many out buildings and about 350 acres of land. Headley Hall was owned by Lord Headley a member of the Winn family of Nostell Priory and was built in the late l6th century. Over the years it was tenanted out, with approximately 350 acres of arable land, outhouses and farm buildings, cottages and ponds'

Samuel died,aged 6l in 1867 and is buried at Bramham. His son Francis went on to farm at Epsworth but Michael his youngest son and Sarah his wife and adopted daughter Emma Gillian carried on at Headley until the late 1800's. They then returned to the Drax area and lived at Quosque Hall at Carlton. Michael passed away in 1923 aged 89.

After the Stricklands left Headley Hall the tenancy was taken up by various families until the last tenant Henry Elvidge died in 1903. The estate was then sold by auction to the Lane Fox Family of Bramham Park Estates. Leeds University and the National Institute of Botany became tenants until the early 1980's when Leeds University bought it outright.

In the First World War the farm lands were used as an air field with three large hangers. One of these can still be seen today. [n November 2016 Mr Michael Turner was a guest speaker at the Barwick History Society and he described the importance of this little known airfield


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