Thursday, 30 May 2019

Gentleman Jack and the Saltmarshe connection

I have been enjoying the Sunday night drama Gentleman Jack based on the life of Anne Lister of Shibden Hall.

I am particularly interested in the characters of the Rawson family - Christopher and Jeremiah who were Halifax business men and bankers and at odds with Anne about her coal deposits.

What is interesting to me is that if it had not been for the Rawson family the present Saltmarshe Hall would probably not have been built.

The ancient Saltmarshe family was going through a bad patch and in the seventeenth century had had to sell much of their property.  But they were good farmers and businessmen and were slowly buying some of it back in the eighteenth century.

The head of the family, Philip Saltmarshe who died in 1796 at the age of 88 never married. His brother Arthur married in 1751 Ann Mawson of nearby Cotness. Arthur and Ann lived in a farmhouse near the river and much nearer the village than the present hall. They had one son whom not surprisingly they named Philip, born in 1753.

Saltmarshe Old Hall where Elizabeth Saltmarshe nee Rawson lived.

And on 10th May 1779 this son married Elizabeth Rawson, daughter of Christoher Rawson of Stony Royd, Halifax. The Rawsons and Saltmarshes had apparently already been in business together for some years as merchants trading with 'the Orient'

Their descendant,  the last but one Philip Saltmarshe published a book about the family in which he wrote

'To this alliance we owe in a great measure our present position. It was mostly with Rawson money or with the results of investments made with Rawson money that our grandfather and father made the  numerous purchases of land that they did and the handsome fortunes left by our great uncles Arthur and Christopher were put together when they were partners with the Rawsons in their city business'.

Philip and Elizabeth lived in this farmhouse which became known as the Old Hall and had 8 children.
Philip died in 1791 and his widow, the former Elizabeth Rawson, brought up her children and managed the estate with the help of her Rawson family.

Sons Arthur and Christopher were taken into the Rawson family business and lived at Halifax.  Christopher married his cousin Emma Rawson and Anne Lister often mentions visiting them in her diary.

Eldest son Philip, born 1780  built the present Saltmarshe Hall in 1825 aided financially by his aunt Catherine Rawson.

So it seems likely that Anne Lister and her family would have  known the Saltmarshe family well. I am going to watch the rest of the episodes and hope for a mention.

This stained glass window is in the Saltmarshe chapel of Howden Minster. The bottom right hand shield represents the Saltmarshe Rawson marriage


  1. Thank you Susan for this interesting reading!!keep up the good work for us !!X

  2. Thank you - glad that you enjoyed it.

  3. Really interesting Susan thank you