Spencer-Stanhope of
Hall, Cawthorne 

The Cross at Cawthorne The present owners of Cannon Hall, Cawthorne are the local Council.  The estate was purchased sometime after 1990 from the then owner, Simon Fraser. Mr. AG. Lees was the agent at this time for Cannon Hall and held the estate records. Purportedly, Little John's longbow and his thigh bone were kept here at Cannon Hall until the early 1950's.
Houses that were bought at some time by the estate were. Jowett House, Dale House, Banks Hall, Flash-House (from C.O. Rowley of Barnsley in 1829).

The Spencer-Stanhope papers are at the Sheffield Library and the Cartwright Museum in Bradford. The Church account and vestry books are at Wakefield Diocesan Records office (Newstead Road, Wakefield).

1. From 1866-1916 Cannon Hall Estates and therefore most of Cawthorne was owned by John Spencer, then :
2. Walter Spencer-Stanhope
3. John Spencer~Stanhope
4. Colonel (later Sir) Walter Thomas William Spencer-Stanhope
5. John Spencer-Stanhope

See photographs of the Cawthorne Toll bar29

This cross was  donated  by two Stanhope daughters in the late 1800's and erected on the site where the Cawthorne village maypole formerly stood. It is a copy of the original Anglian cross part of which (the shaft) is sited near the cemetery gate while the cross itself is built into the wall of the church where it can still be seen.

John Stanhope
John left Nottinghamshire [probably Rampton] and settled in Manchester. He married Margaret.
They had two sons, William [died young] and a younger son, John  b.1522  d.1593 who settled at Ecclesfield in 1553.27

John Stanhope b. 1522
 John then purchased the Horsforth estate in 1566.John married a Margaret b.1618 and they had a son Walter Stanhope.27

Walter Stanhope b. 1574
Walter was the first Stanhope of Horsforth. In late Elizabethan times [1600] he married Mary Hanson b. 1574 d. 1618.
Walter died in 1660.27  Walter and Mary led to subsequent generations of Stanhopes and Spencer-Stanhopes of Horsforth and Cannon Hall.

There was a John Stanhope esq. of Grimston who died in 1704. He married Judith Langdale of Sunderland. This john had several sons and daughters the youngest of whom,  Edward, claimed Grimston. Edward who died unmarried had a child Edward Wright by the wife of a Grimston blacksmith called Wright. Claims were made by Judith, John Stanhope's wife and John's sister Judith to reclaim Grimston from Edward Wright, but the funds were eaten up by the litigation and so Grimston Park passed to the Gascoignes of Parlington.30

In 1746 A John Spencer purchased half of the manor of Thornton along with Headley, Bradforddale. According to John James [1841] John Stanhope married Barbara, daughter of John Cockroft, a Bradford attorney  who had purchased the manor of Thornton with Headley Hall from Josias Midgley and thus it became vested in the Stanhope family. The other half was purchased by the Hortons.31

John Spencer
Born 1718, died 1775. John's ancestors had accumulated wealth through the early iron industry. Coal pits took on more importance during their tenure. John was a huntsman, a bold rider, a hard drinker with a violent temper and speech, but open and warm hearted with good manners, a paternalistic approach. He was scholarly and possessed a large library. He was never interested in politics but  became a racehorse owner and ran cockfights on Sunday in Cawthorne Park. However he attended the local All Saints Church regularly. Parson Phipps at this time lived at Banks Hall, a bachelor for most of his life (An "old parochial squire") with no male issue.

John Spencer introduced about 100 deer into the park at Cawtorne between 1760 and 1766, they were purchased in February. 1762. 18, pl93  The deer 'dissipated 'during WW2. By 1807 the Hall was basically as it is today.

Christiana Spencer 
Daughter of Mr. William Spencer born 2nd August 1717, baptised Cawthorne Church 15th August 1717. [Cawthorne Parish Church Register]

Alicia, Maria, Spencer
Daughter of Mr. William Spencer privately baptised 1stApril 1722, received publicly 26th April. [Cawthorne Parish Church Register] Of Cawthorne Parish, married John Greame Esq. of Bridlington in 1756.12, p.114

                                                 Stanhope pedigree in Joseph Hunter's, S. Yorks vol ii.

Walter Spencer-Stanhope
Born 4th Feb 1749 died 4th. April 1821. He inherited Cannon Hall from his uncle, John Spencer in 1775. Walter changed his name from Stanhope to Spencer-Stanhope (18, p2) A politician, educated at Bradford Grammar School, University College, Oxford, Law studies at Miiddle Temple member for Carlisle (first of four constituencies). A close supporter of William Pitt the Younger and William Wilberforce (Yorkshire anti-slavery campaigner).William Wilberforce was a frequent visitor to Cannon Hall.

Walter had income from estates, iron furnaces and coal mines. A bloomery had operated at Cinder Hill and there still are numerous "Smithy Fields"12, p51 to the north (see Ordnance Survey maps). In the l650's the Spencers' had manufactured iron at Bamby Furnaces, Wortley Forges, Bank Furnace (Thornhlll Parish) and Kirkstall Iron Works near Leeds. Timber was taken from the surrounding woodlands for this purpose.l2, p62  Even back in 1352 there was a contract to supply wood and iron for the "iron blomes at Kirkstell near Otley".12, p51 By the 1750's pit coal was being used in the smelting of iron, and after1744 the occupation of "collier" was listed more frequently in the Parish Register.12, p62

In 1783 he married Winifred Pulleine (she was an only child) this gave him more property and wealth in North Yorkshire such as Carlton Hall, Nr Richmond and in Northumberland. They were blessed with a happy marriage producing 15 children.
Walter was a humanitarian (eg  pre 1775 he had all the Horsforth Estate tenants vaccinated against smallpox). He became a religious humanitarian after meeting William Wilberforce.18, p4
In 1787 Walter began the practice of delivering the Sunday evening sermon.18, p4 He worked against the cruelty to animals in sport, e.g. in July 1794 he had a bull-baiter shoot his own bull; bull baiting was made illegal by 1835.18, p4
By 1799 the Barnsley Canal had been opened with a branch line to Barnby (Cawthorne) Basin, this allowed the collieries at Silkstone and Barnby Furnace to increase their output. By the early 1800's the largest output had been achieved at Norcroft and Bamby Furnace.12, p62

Cliffe hill was the main road to Cannon Hall in the late1700's to the early 1800's. It is now little used, the main entrance being more directly  in front of Cannon Hall itself.
In 1805 Walter Spencer-Stanhope commanded 600 Staincross Volunteers, a false alarm was raised (instead of a warning beacon, a brick kiln had been lit near Pontefract Beacon) The Volunteers walked to Hemsworth on the way to Pontefract, when informed by a horse-rider with a letter.

Philip, son of Walter Spencer Stanhope was baptised at Cawthorne parish Church on 21st___ 1799. {Cawthorne Church Register]

During the Napoleonic Wars, John Claude Nattes a volatile Irish painter was a drawing master to the "Stanhope" children..18, p ix
John Spencer -Stanhope Born 1787, died 1873
Studied Greek mythology, married Lady Elizabeth Wilhelmina Cox third daughter of Thomas Cox (Coke of Holkham). In 1817 Thomas Cox had 7000 farmers visit his estate in Norfolk. Elizabeth married John Spencer on 5th. Dec 1822, prior to this, in 1810, John had toured Iberia where he had been imprisoned. He later toured Greece. The carriage which brought Sir John Stanhope home on parole from a French prison also carried Mrs.George Batchelor from Barnsley whose husband was due to be buried in Cawthorne, he had been a coachman at Cannon-Hall.12, p99
On Nov. 2nd 1869 Bishop Marsden, the grandson of Samuel Marsden [once a blacksmith of Horsforth, and who was sent out on the recommendation of William Wilberforce and Sir Walter Stanhope as chaplain to the convicts of Australia] gave a lecture in Cawthorne about Australia. Mr John Stanhope reminded Bishop Marsden of his own father's interest in Samuel Marsden. It was Samuel who in 1808 sent his nephew in Leeds the first bag of Australian wool ever received in England.12, p168

Mrs Elizabeth Spencer Stanhope [nee Cox or Coke] (17951873) daughter of 'Coke of Holkham'. Painted by Abel Hold 1873. Barnsley Museum. Oil on canvas, 89.8 x 72.3 cm

Sir Walter Thomas William Spencer-Stanhope (KCB)
Sir Walter Spencer-Stanhope Born 1829, died 1911. His wife fell ill in Bournemoth, a get well letter was sent and signed by 239 female heads of houses in Cawthorne(18, p170) His niece was Mrs Anna, Maria, Diana, Wilhelmina Stirling (nee Pickering).8
Anna spent her early life in Cawthorne. She published a book Called "Lifes' Little Day" in 1924 with Thornton Butterworths. Roddam Stanhope was her uncle.
She also compiled The Cannon Hall Papers of her mother, Elizabeth Spencer Stanhope.(Coke Of Holkham's 3rd, daughter.26

John Montague
John Montague Spencer-Stanhope Born 1860, died 1944, John came of age on the 31st December 1881.18, pl71 John was more of  private man than Walter, life quietened down in the village after Walter died in 1911.18, p192 John was the country squire (18). He owned a West Highland White dog.18
Married Ida Mary Pilkington in 1890, she was the daughter of Sir Lionel Pilkington of 'Chute' or Chevet.18 They had a daughter Elizabeth ("Miss Betty") who later married Simon Fraser. Elizabeth was the last Spencer-Stanhope to live in Cannon Hall. The Pilkingtons had a very long association with Chevet and before that, Nether Bradley and Stanley nr. Wakefield being descended from Thomas Pilkington (d. 1565), a bow bearer for Queen Elizabeth I. 
See Montague, Earls of Salisbury.


Ida Mary Pilkington (Spencer-Stanhope)
Ida  Spence-Stanhope nee Pilkington Born 1864, died prematurely in 1920 (18) Ida was responsible for the Victoria Cottage Institute (opened Aug 1898) which was a medical centre, It was a former Methodist Chapel.18  It was not until the 1920's that a doctor was aquired for the village18
Ida had a brother "Mr Pilkington" who lived at Dale House in the early 1900's .18, photographs pp 90-1  Ida was sometimes referred to as 'Mrs. John Montague Spencer-Stanhope' or just 'Lady Stanhope' [pron: 'Stanup'] The Lancashire name Pilkington can be traced back to at least the reign of Edward I [1272-1307].
In 1904 'Lady Stanhope' painted a portrait of  Lavinia Milnes, then aged 16, grand-daughter of Charles Wemyss, the steward of Cannon Hall. The painting was submitted to the Royal Academy for exhibition and presented to Lavinia  upon her marriage.

      Laninia Milnes of Cawthorne
Lavinia Midgley nee Milnes, painted by Lady Stanhope of Cannon Hall.


John Roddam Spencer Stanhope (1829-1908) 7
Lived at Hill House in the 1870's for a few years, at this time the original farmhouse was altered and enlarged. Resided at Villa Nutti at Bellosguardo, near Florence, Italy with his wife and daughter. He died here. The name Roddam is from Northumberland on the distaff side, and is the same toponymic origin as for Hilary Rodham Clinton, senator for New York, USA.
Margaret Elizabeth Spencer-Stanhope (Fraser) (1891-1964)
Married Rear Admiral George Fraser and had a son Simon. The Frasers came from Western Scotland.18  She succeeded her father John Montague in 1944. Divorced her husband, returned to Cannon Hall and called herself Mrs. Elizabeth Fraser Spencer-Stanhope or "Mrs Stanhope".18 After she sold Cannon Hall Elizabeth retired to Banks Hall for the remaining years of her life (it is now a retirement home)18,p185  In 1947 the National Coal Board open cut Cawthorne including Cannon Hall Park. 18, p193 Between 1947 and 1955 60% of the parish was opencut  In 1951, Elizabeth Spencer-Stanhope, as the last private owner of Cannon Hall, sold the property to Barnsley Council. The home farm was sold privately.28
Note: In a film called "The Woman He Loved" about Edward VII and Mrs Simpson, before a dinner of many notables held by Edward and Wallis Simpson, Sir Stanhope and Lady Stanhope were announced. Edward abdicated in 1936 after 325 days.

Simon Walter Fraser (1924-2004)
The Cannon Hall Estate was passed on to Simon by his mother in 1954. He was still the owner in1990.18 During the 1970's he maintained a residence in the village but  preferred to live on the West Coast of Scotland where his grandfather (John Montague) and his great-grandfather (Walter) always maintained a holiday home 18,p192 this was in Appin at "Fas-na-cloich".19  Simon had a son Alistair, who resides at Jowett House, Cawthorne, a working dairy farm.

Link - Cawthorne, South Yorkshire


  7.  Cawthorne Centenary Booklet (1980).
12.  History of Cawthorne C.T. Pratt. (1880).
17.  I.G.I. C 0608 Northumberland (batch Ml 09171 serial sheet 0594).
18. Cawthorne 1790-1990. A South Yorkshire Village Remembers Its Past. Barry Jackson June 1990.
21. Census returns for 1881 (RGl 1/4611 Ed. 2, folio 30, p20) and 1891 (p 12) held at the Wakefield Local Studies Library and Barnsley Local Studies Library
23.  IGI D0583 Yorkshire
26. The Letterbag of Lady Spencer-Stanhope ed. by Anna Stirling pub. 1913 compiled from the Cannon Hall papers 1806-1873 2 volumes, published by John Lane London, Bell and Cockburn, printers, Toronto 1913
27. E-mail communication with the claimant to the Lordship of  Everingham of Laxton, Notts. January, 2004.
28. Guidebook : Welcome to Cannon Hall Museum, a pamphlet by the Friends of Cannon Hall Museum
29. Photographs kindly supplied by Chris Moxon.

30. Speight, Harry. Lower Wharfedale. 1902, p. 196.

31.  The History of Bradford and its Parish. 1841, p. 338.

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 © Copyright Tim Midgley July 2002, links revised 12th January 2024.