Saturday 18 July 2015

(176) Armitage of Farnley Hall and Noan House

Armitage of Farnley Hall
During the 18th century, James Armitage (1730-1803) built a substantial fortune as a wool merchant in Leeds. He lived most of his life at Hunslet, in the suburbs of the city, but by the 1790s he was looking round for a country estate. He considered several properties, and was outbid for an estate in the North Riding, before settling on the acquisition of Farnley Hall, south-west of Leeds (not to be confused with Farnley Hall near Otley, home of the Fawkes family) for which he paid £49,500 in 1799. The house was then a modest but relatively recent building of the 1750s, and James seems not to have made any changes before he died in 1803. He was succeeded by his son, Edward Armitage (1764-1829), who apparently built a large and much grander new south range onto the house, and in 1806, when this was completed, he sold his house in South Parade, Leeds and moved in. Edward was no doubt also responsible for landscaping the existing park in the first years of his ownership.

Although brought up to be a wool merchant like his father, Edward withdrew from his partnership with Neriah and Joseph Gomersall in 1804 and devoted himself to farming and agricultural improvement. He became a Vice-President of the Wharfedale Agricultural Society and won several prizes at the Society's shows for his livestock. He also fought a constant battle with poachers on his estate, which being so close to a large city was especially vulnerable. In 1829, at the relatively young age of 65, Edward died suddenly while visiting his eldest son, who was then living at Breckenborough Place near Thirsk. By his will, he left his estate to his widow, Sarah Armitage (1768-1847) for life, and gave her power to determine how it should be apportioned between their four surviving sons. Until 1843 she let Farnley Hall to her husband's nephew, John William Rhodes, and when she died she established an unusual arrangement by which her four sons were tenants in common of the Farnley estate. 

In 1844 the four brothers, who appear to have recovered possession of the Hall in that year, came together as partners in the Farnley Iron Works to exploit the coal, iron and fireclay resources found on the estate; the iron ore found on their property was thought to be some of the highest quality in the country. It was probably James Armitage (1793-1872) and his brother William (1798-1883), who after their mother's death occupied Farnley Hall, who were the active partners in the firm. John Leathley Armitage (1792-1870) and Edward Armitage (1796-1878) were partners in the Cheltenham & Gloucestershire Bank from 1836 and lived in Cheltenham. The Farnley Iron Works expanded rapidly and from 1850 they family developed a new village to house their workers at New Farnley. The Armitages saw themselves as having the paternalistic responsibilities of rural gentry to all the inhabitants of their estate. They supported the establishment of a new national school in 1845 and built their own factory school in 1850 when the growth of New Farnley expanded the population. This had a cricket club, a reading room and library, a penny savings bank and a sickness and burial society associated with it. The family thus made a conscious effort to create a thriving community at Farnley.

Although both James and William Armitage had sons, it was James' third son, William James Armitage (1819-95), who had initially studied medicine in Paris, who took on the management of the Iron Works. He entered the firm in 1855 and became Chairman and Managing Director when a limited company was formed in 1870. He retired from active management of the business in about 1875 (although he remained Chairman) but had other business interests, as a director of the Brown Bayley Steel Works in Sheffield, formed in 1871, and of Blair & Co., marine engine manufacturers at Stockton-on-Tees. He became Chairman of Brown Bayley when it became a limited company in 1888, and that firm subsequently took over the Farnley Iron Works, which closed in 1919. 

Robert Armitage (1866-1944), who was trained as a barrister, was Lord Mayor of Leeds in 1904-05 and became MP for the Leeds Central division from 1906-22. His business interests were in coal mining rather than engineering, and he was Chairman of Hickleton Main Colliery and a director of the Doncaster Collieries Association. In 1898 he repurchased Farnley Hall and made it his main home, although he also owned an island off the coast of Co. Galway which he used as a retreat. In 1929, when the development of Leeds was accelerating, he sold off most of the estate, although the lapping tide of suburbia still stops just short of the Hall itself. In 1944, what was left of the estate passed to Robert's son, Robert William Armitage (1900-78), who sold it the following year to the City Council; the Hall is now the headquarters of their Parks department. R.W. Armitage, who was a Lloyds underwriter, married as his second wife in 1946 the daughter of Sir Arthur "Bomber" Harris, and they subsequently lived in several different parts of the country; he died in Wiltshire in 1978.

Group portrait of the seven sons of James Armitage (1793-1872): left to right they are Edward, John, James, Walter James, Thomas, Francis James and William James. Image: Geoffrey de Wilton.

During the years when Farnley Hall was let in the 1830s and 1840s, James Armitage (1793-1872) lived abroad, first in France and later in Germany. His children were educated on the Continent, and his eldest son, Edward Armitage (1817-96) attended the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris and became an artist, finding recognition in the respected genre of history painting.
Edward Armitage, Julian the Apostate presiding at a conference
 of sectarians
, 1875. Image: Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool.
He returned to England in 1848 
and became a Royal Academician in 1872. He married a fellow-artist, and the couple set up a slightly unconventional household in St John's Wood; they had no children but adopted several old ladies who came to live in their household and were known as 'Armitage's mothers'. Edward's younger brother, Thomas Rhodes Armitage (1824-90), was educated at the Sorbonne in Paris and later graduated from Kings College, London as a doctor of medicine. After working in field hospitals in the Crimea in the 1850s, he returned home and established a fashionable West End practice in London, but by 1866 his sight had deteriorated to the point where he could no longer continue to work in the profession. He devoted the rest of his life to improving the lot of the blind and partially sighted, promoting the adoption of Braille and the provision of employment opportunities (including piano tuning) for the blind, and founding the Royal National College for the Blind, which he supported for many years with his own money. His wife, Harriet Black, brought him the Noan estate in Co. Tipperary, and the couple divided their time between London and Noan. Of their three children, the elder son, Walter Stanley Armitage (1860-1902) became a doctor like his father, and the daughter, Alice Stanley Armitage (1869-1949) continued her father's work as a promoter and supporter of charities for the blind, but it was the younger son, Frederick Rhodes Armitage (1867-1952) who inherited the Noan estate and farmed there throughout the troubled years of the early 20th century. Although obliged to part with his tenanted lands in 1922 under the land reforms of the Irish government, much of the estate was always kept in hand, and Noan remained a viable estate throughout the 20th century. In 1952, both of his surviving sons having been killed in the Second World War, it passed to his unmarried daughter, Doris Mary Rhodes Armitage (1900-79), who continued to live at Noan with her spinster sister until her death, when the estate was sold.

Farnley Hall, Leeds, Yorkshire (WR)

Farnley Hall in the mid 20th century, showing the new block of c.1806 and the older range behind.

There was a house with a deer park on this site in the 16th century and inside the present house is an archway with a decayed stone panel (no doubt once on the exterior of the building) of the coat of arms of Sir Thomas Danby and the inscription 'Buildid the year of our Lord 1586 and in the reign of the Queen bi S[ir] Thomas Danby Kn[t].'  Surviving evidence of his building include some Tudor doorways and windows in the cellar and reused 17th century panelling in a first floor room.

The present L-shaped house was constructed in two phases. The 12-bay east-facing range was built for Christopher Danby to replace the Elizabethan house in about 1756 and altered c.1806 for Edward Armitage, when it was given a new centrepiece. The main south-facing front was built for Edward Armitage in c.1806. It is of two storeys and seven bays, with a broader, pedimented central bay which projects slightly and has a portico with four Tuscan columns on the ground floor and a tripartite window above. The right-hand end of this range has a full-height curved bow with three windows. 

The medieval deer park was landscaped at the beginning of the 19th century for Edward Armitage, and contains a square gazebo with a pyramidal roof that no doubt dates from that time. The stables and a 17th century barn west of the house were rebuilt or remodelled in red brick at the same time. The house is now the headquarters of Leeds City Council's Parks and Countryside Service, and the park is open to the public.

Farnley Hall  in recent years. Image: Leeds City Council.

Descent: sold 1497 to Sir James Danby, kt.; to son, Sir Christopher Danby (d. 1518), kt.; to son, Sir Christopher Danby (1503-71), kt.; to son, Sir Thomas Danby (c.1530-90), kt.; to grandson, Christopher Danby (1582-1624); to son, Sir Thomas Danby (1610-60), kt.; to son, Thomas Danby (1631-67); to uncle, Christopher Danby (d. 1695); to son, Sir Abstrupus Danby (1655-1727), kt., to son, Abstrupus Danby (b. 1680); to son, William Danby; to son, William Danby of Swinton Park (Yorks) sold 1799 to James Armitage (1730-1803); to son, Edward Armitage (1764-1829); to widow, Sarah Armitage (1768-1847), who let it to John William Rhodes (fl. 1830-43); to four sons, of whom William Armitage (1798-1883) and James Armitage (1793-1872) were resident; sold 1875 to Albert Henry Pawson; sold 1898 to Robert Armitage (1866-1944); to son, Robert William Armitage (b. 1900) who sold 1945 to Leeds City Council.

Noan House, Thurles, Tipperary

Noan House: the front range of c.1810
A complex house, with an elegant white stuccoed five bay, two-storey front range built in about 1810, presumably for Nathaniel Taylor, with an older three-storey range behind and parallel to it, and a yet older four bay, three-storey range at right-angles to the latter. The front range has sash windows, a hipped slate roof with broad overhanging eaves, and a fine central doorcase with an elaborate cobweb fanlight. The oldest part of the house could date from the 17th century, but has few remaining original features as the fenestration has all been renewed in the early 19th century.
Noan House from the 1st edition 6" OSI map 
The grounds were landscaped in the early 19th century, and the planting broadly survives, although the layout has been somewhat simplified. The estate was expanded in the 19th century, and in 1876 amounted to some 2,019 acres; this was reduced again by the sale of the tenanted farms in 1922.

Descent: Granted 1666 to Nathaniel Taylor (1611-75); to son, Robert Taylor; to son, Lovelace Taylor (d. 1760); to son, Nathaniel Taylor (d. 1775); to brother, Godfrey Taylor (1723-99); to son Edward Taylor (d. 1801); to son, Nathaniel Taylor (d. 1828); to sister, Anne, wife of John Bagwell (later Taylor) of Kilmore; sold by Incumbered Estates Court 1853 to Stanley Black; to daughter, Harriet (d. 1901), wife of Thomas Rhodes Armitage (1824-90); to son, Frederick Rhodes Armitage (1867-1952); to daughter, Doris Mary Rhodes Armitage (1900-79); sold after her death to Eddie Grant...sold c.2010 to Mr. Hanley.

Armitage family of Farnley Hall

Armitage, James (1730-1803) of Farnley Hall. Fifth son of Joseph Armitage (1683-1749?) of Leeds and his wife Elizabeth Hodgson, born 5 May and baptised at Call Lane Aryan Independent Chapel, Leeds, 8 June 1730. Wool merchant of Leeds. He married, 28 October 1758 at Childwall (Lancs), Catherine Hales of Littlewoolton in Childwall (1730-68) and had issue:
(1) Jane Armitage (b. 1760; fl. 1841), born 15 April 1760 and baptised at Whitehall Independent Chapel, Leeds; she was born deaf and dumb and lived with a female companion; in his will her father noted that while he approved of her choosing her own companion, if that companion did not meet with the approbation of his trustees, he gave them the power to choose another instead; she died unmarried after 1841;
(2) Joseph Armitage (1762-91), born 8 March 1762 and baptised at Whitehall Independent Chapel, Leeds; died unmarried, 30 March 1791;
(3) Elizabeth Armitage (1763-1840), born 30 March 1763 and baptised at Whitehall Independent Chapel, Leeds; married, 2 July 1781 at Leeds, Peter Rhodes (d. 1837) of Leeds, merchant and had issue three sons and three daughters; died 19 December 1840;
(4) Edward Armitage (1764-1829) (q.v.);
(5) Catherine Armitage (1765-66), born 22 November 1765; died in infancy, 25 February 1766.
He acquired Farnley Hall from Sir Thomas Danby in 1799 for £49,500.
He died 1 September and was buried at Hunslet, 5 September 1803; will proved 23 November 1803 (wealth at death estimated at £200,000). His wife was buried 16 April 1768.

Armitage, Edward (1764-1829) of Farnley Hall. Second son of James Armitage (1730-1803) and his wife Catherine Hales of Childwall (Lancs), born 29 April 1764 and baptised at Whitehall Independent Chapel, Leeds. Wool merchant (retired 1804); owned shares in the Aire & Calder Navigation; appointed to the committee to establish Leeds Volunteer Infantry, 1794 and an officer in the Leeds Volunteer Cavalry, 1796; Vice-President of Wharfdale Agricultural Society, 1811. He married, 7 July 1787, Sarah Leathley (1768-1847) and had issue:
(1) James Armitage (1791-93), baptised 1 October 1791; died in infancy, June 1793;
(2) John Leathley Armitage (1792-1870), born 25 March and baptised at Leeds (Yorks), 9 May 1792; a director of the Cheltenham & Gloucestershire Bank, 1836; a partner in the Farnley Iron Works from 1844; one of the founders of Cheltenham College; married, 10 September 1817 at Cockermouth (Cumbld), Elizabeth (1800-78), youngest daughter of Henry Thompson of Cheltenham (Glos) and had issue ten sons and four daughters; lived at Cockermouth and later at Breckenborough Place, Kirby Wiske (Yorks) and Prestbury Lodge, Cheltenham (Glos); died 7 January and was buried at Cheltenham (Glos), 12 January 1870; will proved 25 January 1870 (effects under £60,000);
(3) James Armitage (1793-1872) (q.v.);
(4) Sarah Armitage (1794-1816), born 28 May and baptised 3 July 1794; died unmarried, 7 July 1816;
(4) Jane Armitage (1795-1805), born 2 November 1795; died young, 2 September 1805;
(5) Edward Armitage (1796-1878), born 19 December 1796; a director of the Cheltenham & Gloucestershire Bank, 1836; a partner in the Farnley Iron Works from 1844; married, 15 December 1819 at Newton Kyme (Yorks), Sarah Ann (1796-1868), daughter of Henry Thompson of Cheltenham (Glos), and had issue one son and four daughters; lived at Farnley Lodge, Cheltenham (Glos); died 2 October 1878 and was buried at Cheltenham, 8 October 1878; will proved 20 November 1878 (effects under £60,000);
(6) William Armitage (1798-1883) of Farnley Hall and later of Ainderby Hall, Ainderby Steeple (Yorks NR) and Woodville, Scarborough (Yorks), born 24 May 1798; a partner in the Farnley Iron Works from 1844; married 1st, 2 September 1817, Charlotte, daughter of Harry Wormald of Leeds and had issue three sons and five daughters, and 2nd, 19 April 1843, Georgina Frances (1807-81), daughter of William Ollivant of Ancoats, Manchester, but had no issue; died 27 December 1883 and was buried at Scarborough, 1 January 1884; will proved 10 April 1884 (effects £90,399);
(7) Joseph Armitage (1799-1800), born 19 August and baptised 12 December 1799; died of smallpox in infancy and was buried 28 June 1800.
He lived in houses at Hunslet (let from 1802) and South Parade, Leeds (sold in 1806); after he inherited Farnley Hall from his father in 1803 he built a new south range before moving into the property. At his death he bequeathed his property to his widow, and she left it to her four surviving sons as tenants in common; the survivors sold it in 1875.
He died at Breckenborough Place, Kirby Wiske (Yorks), 27 October 1829; his will was proved in the Prerogative Court of Canterbury, 4 May 1830. His widow lived at Prestbury (Glos) and died there, 6 April 1847; her will was proved 8 May 1847.

James Armitage 1793-1872.
Image: Jill Armitage
Armitage, James (1793-1872) of Farnley Hall. Son of Edward Armitage (1764-1829), born 4 June and baptised 8 July 1793. Educated at Harrow, Trinity College, Cambridge (admitted 1811; BA 1816) and Lincoln's Inn (admitted 1816). In 1844 he founded, with his three brothers, the Farnley ironworks (incorporated as Farnley Iron Co. in 1871), using coal, iron and fireclay found on the estate; to house their workers they built the village of New Farnley. He married, 9 May 1816 at St Peter, Leeds (Yorks), his cousin, Anne Elizabeth (1788-1833), daughter of Peter Rhodes of Leeds, and had issue:
(1) Edward Armitage (1817-96), born 20 May and baptised 4 June 1817; educated at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts, Paris, 1837-43 and in Rome, 1847; settled in England c.1848; artist who specialised in classical, biblical and historical scenes; married, 1853, Catherine Laurie Barber (1818-97), artist and settled in St John's Wood, London, but had no issue; elected ARA 1867 and RA 1872; retired 1894; died at Tunbridge Wells (Kent), 24 May 1896 and was buried at Hove (Sussex) Cemetery; will proved 14 July 1896 (effects £319,324);
(2) James Armitage (1818-52), born at Tilgate, Worth (Sussex), 29 June 1818 and baptised at Farnley, 18 May 1820; educated at Paris (France), Darmstadt (Germany) and Gonville & Caius and Trinity Colleges, Cambridge (matriculated 1839; BA 1843; MA 1846); Fellow of Trinity College, Cambridge, 1845-52; died 19 August and was buried at Thorpe (Derbys), 24 August 1852;
(3) William James Armitage (1819-95) (q.v.);
(4) Rev. Walter James Armitage (1820-56), born 25 November 1820 and baptised at Worth (Sussex), 12 March 1821; educated at Trinity College, Cambridge (matriculated 1842; BA 1846; MA 1850); vicar of Thorpe (Derbys); died at Hunslet (Yorks), 11 February 1856;
(5) Rev. Francis James Armitage (1822-89), born 25 February and baptised at Worth (Sussex), 25 September 1822; educated at Christ's College, Cambridge (matriculated 1842; BA 1849; MA 1866); ordained deacon, 1852 and priest, 1854; curate of Ilkley (Yorks WR); perpetual curate of Casterton (Westmld), 1866-89; married 1st, November 1850 at Stockton-on-Tees (Yorks NR), his cousin, Elizabeth (1824-65), daughter of John Leathley Armitage, and had issue five sons and one daughter; married 2nd, 31 January 1866 at Duffield (Derbys), Helena Wilkinson (b. 1821) but had no further issue; died in Bournemouth, 3 January 1889; will proved 2 February 1889 (effects £81,175);
(6) Thomas Rhodes Armitage (1824-90) MD (see below, under Armitage family of Noan);
(7) Julia Frances Armitage (b. 1825), born 9 December 1825; died young;
(7) Ann Elizabeth Armitage (1826-28), born 10 October and baptised at Boulogne-sur-Mer (France), 7 November 1826; died at Cookridge, Leeds (Yorks WR), 9 February 1828;
(8) John Armitage (1829-63), born 2 April 1829; died at Belle Vue Mansion, Brighton (Sussex), 28 October 1863; will proved 14 November 1863 (estate under £5,000).
He lived at Tilgate Manor (Sussex) in the 1820s, and then at Avranches, Normandy (France) and in Paris (France) c.1828-33 and at Frankfurt and Offenbach (Germany) from 1833 until c.1840. After he went into business with his brothers he lived with William Armitage at Farnley Hall. He also had a house at 31 Hamilton Terrace, St John's Wood, London.
He died at St. John's Wood, 27 July 1872; his will was proved 7 September 1872 (effects under £90,000). His wife died at Frankfurt (Germany), 17 December 1833 and was buried in the cemetery there.

Armitage, William James (1819-95) of Farnley Hall. Third son of James Armitage (1793-1872) and his wife Anne Elizabeth Rhodes, born at Tilgate, Worth (Sussex), 16 July 1819 and baptised at Farnley, 18 May 1820. Educated chiefly in France and at the University of Paris, where he studied medicine; he later took to painting until in 1855 he joined his father and uncle in the Farnley Iron Works, succeeding them as Chairman and Managing Director; he retired from active engagement in the business about 1875 although he remained Chairman of the company. He was also a Director of Blair & Co., marine engine manufacturers of Stockton-on-Tees, and of Brown, Bayley & Co., of which he became Chairman when it became a limited company in 1888; Member of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, 1859-95. He married, 7 August 1860 at St John, Roundhay, Leeds, Emily (1836-1909), eldest daughter of William Nicholson Nicholson of Roundhay Park, Leeds and sister of William Gustavus Nicholson, 1st Baron Nicholson, and had issue:
(1) Anne Elizabeth Armitage (1862-1925), born 13 April 1862; married, 17 July 1895 at Holy Trinity, Hampstead (Middx), Detlof Ludwig von Braun (1859-1933), Swedish medical gymnast, (who m2, 19 May 1926 at Stockholm (Sweden), Kerstin Sandels (1866-1952)), son of Carl Wilhelm Baltzar von Braun, but had no issue; died in Bournemouth, 23 February 1925; will proved 18 April 1925 (estate £53,004); 
(2) James William Armitage (b. & d. 1863), born 24 February 1863 and died in infancy, 13 August 1863;
(3) Robert Armitage (1866-1944) (q.v.);
(4) Alfred Armitage (1867-1941) of The Court, Worcester Park (Surrey), born 17 March 1867; educated at Westminster and Clare College, Cambridge (admitted 1885; BA 1888; MA 1892). Ordained deacon, 1890 and priest, 1891-97; curate of West Ham (Essex), 1891-97; commissary of Sierra Leone, 1899-1904; resigned from holy orders, 1903; JP for Surrey and later for Somerset; married, 4 November 1890 at St Cuthbert, Bedford, Mary Frances (1866-1949), daughter of Samuel Thompson of Muckamore Abbey (Antrim) and had issue two sons and two daughters; died 28 October 1941 and was buried at Sherborne (Dorset), 1 November 1941; will proved 7 March 1942 (estate £2,801);
(5) William James Armitage (1868-1940), of Dore Moor House, Sheffield (Yorks), born 7 December 1868; educated at Westminster and Emmanuel College, Cambridge (admitted 1886; BA 1890; MA 1896); admitted solicitor, 1896 but worked as Managing Director of a steelworks in Sheffield; served in WW1 as Major in 4th Battn, Yorks & Lancs Regiment, 1914, and as a staff officer; married, 29 July 1897, Marian Eva (c.1876-1951), only daughter of Maurice Henry Berkeley of London and had issue one son and three daughters; died 5 July 1940; will proved 2 September 1940 (estate £136,585);
(6) Rev. Philip Armitage (1870-1960), born 24 August 1870; educated at Westminster and Trinity College, Cambridge (admitted 1889; BA 1892; MA 1899); ordained deacon, 1895 and priest, 1896; curate of Holy Trinity, Cambridge, 1895-1900, 1901-04; missionary at Allahabad (India), 1900-01; vicar of Birling (Kent), 1904-08 and Nettlebed (Oxon), 1908-20; retired, 1920; married, 18 March 1902 at St Paul, Kensington (Middx), Elizabeth Christina (c.1880-1934), third daughter of Lt-Col. Anthony Marshall of Anstead, Chathill (Northbld) and had issue three sons and one daughter; died 12 May 1960, aged 89; will proved 21 June 1960 (estate £94,575).
He lived at Farnley Hall c.1872-75, but moved to Farnley House, Eton Avenue, Hampstead (Middx), when Farnley Hall was sold in 1875. He had another house at 56 The Drive, Hove (Sussex).
He died in Hove, 12 August 1895; his will was proved 18 November 1895 (effects £113,564). His widow died in Hove, 30 December 1909; her will was proved 22 March 1910 (estate £163,568).

Robert Armitage 1866-1944
Armitage, Robert (1866-1944) of Farnley Hall and Dinish Island. Eldest son of William James Armitage (1819-95) of Farnley Hall and his wife Emily, daughter of William Nicholson Nicholson of Roundhay, Leeds, born 22 February and baptised 26 April 1866. Educated at Westminster School, 1880-83, Trinity College, Cambridge (admitted 1884; BA 1888) and Inner Temple (admitted 1887; called to bar, 1889). Barrister-at-law; JP for Leeds; Lord Mayor of Leeds, 1904-05; MP for Leeds Central, 1906-22; Lay Member of the National Assembly of the Church of England. Chairman of Hickleton Main Colliery and Director of Brodsworth Main and Markham Main Collieries, the Doncaster Collieries Association, and the Wagon Finance Corporation Ltd. Member of the Institution of Civil Engineers, 1898. He married 1st, 8 January 1891 at Broadwey (Dorset), Caroline Katharine (1867-1933), daughter of Dudley Henry Ryder of Westbrook Hay, Boxmoor (Herts), and 2nd, 24 July 1936 at Great Hallingbury (Essex), Mary Dorothea (1871-1955), daughter of Robert Barclay of High Leigh, Hoddesdon (Herts) and widow of Rev. Edward Bachelor Russell, and had issue:
(1.1) Evelyn Caroline Armitage (1891-1980), born 29 October and baptised 1 November 1891; lived in London, where she shared flats in Battersea and later St John's Wood with her partner, Rhoda Lilian Victoria Granger (1897-1976), for more than forty-five years; died unmarried, 19 May 1980; will proved 22 August 1980 (estate £341,527);
(1.2) James Armitage (b. & d. 1893); born May 1893; died in infancy, 14 July 1893;
(1.3) Georgina Emily Armitage (1895-1979), born 25 July 1895; married, 2 May 1925 at Farnley, Alfred Thompson Schofield (c.1893-1966), surgeon, son of James William Schofield of Westcliff-on-Sea (Essex) and had issue two daughters; lived at Kenmare (Kerry); died in England, Oct-Dec 1979;
(1.4) Margaret Katherine Armitage (b. 1897), born 13 May and baptised 26 June 1897; renowned pig breeder at Cahir (Tipperary); died unmarried after 1977;
(1.5) Robert William Armitage (1900-78) (q.v.);
(1.6) John Claud Armitage (1904-79), born 7 October and baptised 12 November 1904; educated at Eton and Trinity College, Cambridge; lived in London; married, Apr-Jun 1949, Nesta Miriam (1912-77), daughter of R.P. FitzGerald of Newlands, Cape Province, South Africa and formerly wife of John Royston Vaughan Cooper, and had issue a daughter; died in London, 21 March 1979; will proved 1 August 1979 (estate £28,471);
(1.7) Edward Hugh Armitage (1906-74), born 26 May 1906; educated at Eton and Trinity College, Cambridge; one of the first men to climb Mt. Ruwenzori (Uganda/Congo), 1926; served in the RAF in Second World War; lived in Nassau (Bahamas) and later in Marbella (Spain); married 1st, 19 November 1931, Ruth Miriam Dunscomb of Chicago (USA) and 2nd, November 1950, Judith Mabel Alice (1907-73), eldest daughter of Capt. Henry Albert le Fowne Hurt CMG of Glenmore, Crossmolina, Mayo and formerly wife of Patrick Arthur Tritton, but had no issue; died 14 June 1974; will proved 23 January 1975 (estate in England £5,425);
(1.8) Anne Elizabeth Armitage (1908-85), born 9 March 1908; lived at Paignton (Devon); died unmarried, 17 August 1985; will proved 21 October 1985 (estate £760,566).
He repurchased Farnley Hall in 1898, but sold much of the estate in 1929. He owned Dinish Island, Kenmare Bay, Co. Kerry as a retreat.
He died 10 February 1944; his will was proved 23 May 1944 (estate £35,118). His first wife died 14 February 1933; her will was proved 13 April 1933 (estate £19,975). His widow died at Hill House, Shorne (Kent), 14 April 1955; her will was proved 24 June 1955 (estate £11,528).

Armitage, Robert William (1900-78) of Farnley Hall. Eldest son of Robert Armitage (1866-1944) of Farnley Hall and his first wife Caroline Katharine (d. 1933), daughter of Dudley Henry Ryder of Westbrook Hay, Boxmoor (Herts), born 11 June 1900. Educated at Eton and Trinity College, Cambridge (MA). An officer in the Yorkshire Dragoons, 1925-37 and served in WW2 with the Rifle Brigade, 1940-45 (wounded). An underwriting member of Lloyds. He married 1st, 14 December 1922 in Manhattan, New York (USA) (div. 1946), Virginia, daughter of D.O. Wright of New York, and 2nd, 6 November 1946, Marigold Patricia (1920-2001), daughter of Marshal of the RAF Sir Arthur (Bomber) Harris, 1st bt, GCB, and had issue:
(2.1) Rupert Dudley Armitage (1947-2010), born 6 September 1947; educated at Eton; management consultant and company director; worked latterly in Saudi Arabia and retired to Maryland (USA); married 1st, Jul-Sep 1976, Venetia L. Greville-Bell and 2nd, Marianne Yost and had issue one son and one daughter; died, 'after losing a battle with depression', 20 November 2010;
(2.2) Peter James Armitage (b. 1950), born 25 July 1950; educated at Eton; osteopath.
He inherited Farnley Hall from his father in 1944 but sold it to Leeds City Council the following year. He lived subsequently at addresses in Ireland, Surrey, North Yorkshire and Wiltshire.
He died 1 February 1978; his will was proved 21 June 1978 (estate £32,948). His widow died 29 November 2001; her will was proved 26 April 2002.

Armitage family of Noan

Thomas Rhodes Armitage
Armitage, Thomas Rhodes (1824-90) of Noan. Sixth son of James Armitage (1793-1872) and his wife Anne Elizabeth Rhodes, born 2 April and baptised at Worth (Sussex), 18 May 1824. Educated at the Sorbonne, Paris and Kings College London (MD 1852). Elected LRCS 1848 and LRCP 1852. Physician at the Marylebone Dispensary and in the Crimea before setting up a successful private practice in London; author of Hydropathy as Applied to Acute Diseases; his sight, which had always been poor, deteriorated to the point where he could not read by 1866, and he was unable to continue in practice; he thereafter devoted himself to voluntary effort on behalf of the blind, and founded the British & Foreign Blind Association (one of the predecessors of the National Institute for the Blind), which promoted the adoption of the Braille system as a national standard for literature for the blind, and the creation of employment opportunities for blind people; in 1871 he also founded the Royal National College for the Blind, which he supported with £40,000 of his own money. He was a member of the Royal Commission to enquire into the condition of the blind, deaf and dumb, 1889. He married, 29 November 1860, Harriet (d. 1901), daughter of Stanley Black (d. 1875) of Noan, Thurles (Tipperary) and had issue:
(1) Walter Stanley Armitage (1861-1902) MD of Wormit (Fife), born 6 December 1861; educated at Harrow and in Switzerland; Licentiate of the Royal College of Physicians & Surgeons of Edinburgh, 1886; FRCSE; Commandant of Southampton Yacht Club; married, 1887 (sep. c.1896), Ellen Armitage Playne (1865-1948) and had issue one son and one daughter, but at the time of his death was living with Mary Edith Rowe (d. 1961), to whom he bequeathed his house in Scotland and legacies of £9,000 (she subsequently joined the Roman Catholic church and died in a convent in England); died 2 June 1902; will proved 1902 (estate £100,781) but was subject to litigation in 1904;
(2) Frederick Rhodes Armitage (1867-1952) (q.v.);
(3) Alice Stanley Armitage (1869-1949), born 24 February 1869; became completely deaf in middle age; founded National Council for the Blind of Ireland, 1931; died unmarried, 30 August 1949; will proved 30 January 1950 (estate £148,169 in England).
Through his wife he inherited the Noan estate at Thurles (Tipperary) in 1875 and property in Mexico. After his death Noan passed to his younger son and the Mexican property to his elder son's children, but was soon afterwards sold by their trustees.
He died following a riding accident, 23 October 1890; will proved 30 December 1890 (effects £217,420). His widow died 3 November 1901; her will was proved 3 February 1902 (estate £39,724).

Frederick Rhodes Armitage.
Image: Geoffrey de Wilton
Armitage, Frederick Rhodes (1867-1952) of Noan. Younger son of Thomas Rhodes Armitage (1824-90) of Noan and his wife Harriet, daughter of Stanley Black of Noan, born 11 August 1867. Educated at Rugby, Trinity College, Cambridge (matriculated 1885; BA 1888) and Yorkshire College, Leeds, 1888. Engineering pupil, Midland Railway, 1889; qualified civil engineer, 1893; AMICE; High Sheriff of Tipperary, 1906. He was a lifelong diarist, and as a young man bore a marked resemblance to King George V, for whom he was occasionally mistaken. He married, 29 August 1896 at Hemel Hempstead (Herts), Ellen (1864-1942), daughter of Benjamin Michael Moorhouse of Shepherds Bush, South Canterbury (New Zealand) and had issue:
(1) Thomas Armitage (1898-99), born 24 February 1898; died in infancy, 8 November 1899;
(2) Doris Mary Rhodes Armitage (1900-79) (q.v.);
(3) Stanley Rhodes Armitage (1902-43), born 16 December 1902; educated at Rugby and Trinity College, Cambridge (BA); served in WW2 as a Lieutenant in the Royal Artillery and died in a PoW camp near Kanburi (Thailand), 14/23 September 1943; commemorated on a monument in Kranji War Cemetery, Singapore;
(4) Eleanor Rhodes Armitage (1904-73), born February 1904; horse-breeder; member of the Tipperary Hunt; lived at Noan; died unmarried, 20 September 1973;
(5) Benjamin Rhodes Armitage (1907-41), born 7 January 1907; educated at Cheltenham and Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge (BA); solicitor with Long & Gardner, London; Clerk of the Worshipful Company of Coachmakers, 1934-41; Lieutenant in Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve who served in WW2, 1941; married, 11 May 1933, Marjorie (who m2, 27 August 1947, Charles Craven Sanders, formerly of Coolnamuck, Carrick-on-Suir (Tipperary)), daughter of James Smith MD of Cunningham Hill, St. Albans (Herts) but had no issue; killed in action on HMS Prince of Wales, 10 December 1941 and commemorated on a monument in Kranji War Cemetery, Singapore; will proved 16 March 1942 (estate £14,441);
(6) Anne Rhodes Armitage (1910-74), born 14 August 1910; married, 3 October 1933, Major Marcus William Keene of Magorban, Fethard (Tipperary) and formerly of Beech Park, Ennis (Clare) and had issue one daughter; died 23 January 1974.
He inherited Noan from his elder brother in 1902 but was obliged to sell the tenanted farms to the tenants in 1922 under the Irish land reforms.
He died 8 September 1952; his will was proved 26 September 1952 (estate £50,613 in England). His wife died 17 February 1942.

Armitage, Doris Mary Rhodes (1900-79) of Noan. Eldest daughter of Frederick Rhodes Armitage (1867-1952) and his wife Ellen, daughter of Benjamin Michael Moorhouse of Shepherd's Bush, South Canterbury (New Zealand), born 9 December 1900. President of the National Council for the Blind of Ireland, and of its Cashel branch. She hunted with the Tipperary Hunt. She was unmarried and without issue.
She inherited Noan from her father in 1952; it was sold after her death.
She died in 1979.


Burke's Landed Gentry, 1969, p.17-18; D.G. Marnane, 'The diary of Frederick Armitage of Noan for 1906', Tipperary Historical Journal, 1994; P. Leach & Sir N. Pevsner, The buildings of England: Yorkshire West Riding - Leeds, Bradford and the North, 2009, pp. 571-72; Oxford Dictionary of National Biography articles on Edward Armitage (1817-96) and Thomas Rhodes Armitage (1824-90).

Location of archives

Armitage family of Farnley Hall: deeds, manorial and estate papers, 14th-20th cents. [Yorkshire Archaeological Society, Leeds, MD279]
Armitage family of Noan: no substantial archive is known to survive.
Armitage, Dr. Thomas Rhodes (1824-90): personal papers c.1870-90 [Royal National Institute for the Blind]
Armitage, Frederick Rhodes Armitage (1867-1952): diaries, 1906 and 1930s [Private possession]

Coat of arms

Quarterly, per fess indented azure and gules, a wolf's head erased between four crosslets argent.

Can you help?

Here are a few notes about information and images which would help to improve the account above. If you can help with any of these or with other additions or corrections, please use the contact form in the sidebar to get in touch.

  • Can anyone confirm the descent of Farnley Hall in the Danby family in the 18th century? 
  • Can anyone tell me the ownership history of Noan House after 1979?
  • Can anyone supply portraits or photographs of any of the members of the family whose names are given in bold above, for which these are not present?
  • Can anyone provide a date of death or probate for Jane Armitage (b. 1760; fl. 1841)?
  • Does anyone know the whereabouts of any papers of the Armitage family of Noan or, more specifically, of the main series of diaries of Frederick Rhodes Armitage?

Revision and acknowledgements

This post was first published 18 July 2015 and was revised 9-30 November 2015; 4 March 2016; 1 & 15 July, 31 August and 2 September 2018 and 22 January 2021. I am grateful to Jill Armitage and Geoffrey de Wilton for additional images, information and corrections.


  1. Thank you very much for this, which was pointed out to me by Jill Armitage. ( I am in all probability descended (illegitimately) from one of Edward Armitage R.A.'s cousins, the Rev. Frederick A, born at Kirby Wiske.) I am in contact with several Armitage descendants, some from other branches, and will let them know of your useful website.

  2. Dinish island, where the Armitage and Schofield families holidayed for many years is in County Kerry

    1. Thank you for this correction. There is another Dinish Island in Galway and I had muddled the two. The error has now been corrected.

  3. Thank you so much for this wonderful summary of the Noan and Farnley Hall families. I visited Doris Armitage in 1979 at Noan with my grandmother (her cousin) - With no offspring I imagine her papers were just discarded. What a shame they weren't passed on to us for safekeeping.

  4. Do yoi have any information about James Armitage TWEEDY born 31/07/1812, christened St Leonards 07/09/1812 (as James Hermitage TWEEDY), mother Mary Tweedy. Father believed to be James ARMITAGE (1793-1872) of Farnley, Yorks, James Armitage TWEEDY later moved to Pimlico and married Mary MOULD.

    1. June - I note that this birth would have taken place when James Armitage was 19 and four years before his marriage, so I think it is plausible that he fathered an illegitimate child at this time, but I have no knowledge of a tradition that he did so. I have passed your query on to an Armitage descendant who may know more than I do, and will let you know if she has any further information.

      Nick Kingsley

  5. Excellent post. I was wondering if you have come across the name Phelps in regards to the leasing of Noan House between 1828 and 1841 because they are mentioned as living at Noan House in this period. Thank you
    Heather Bell

    1. Heather,

      I am afraid not. Presumably they were tenants of the John Bagwell/Taylor and his wife mentioned in my account of the house. Because my focus was on the later owners for this article, I didn't look too hard at the earlier history of Noan.

      Nick Kingsley

    2. I knew Margaret Armitage (1.4) after the date you have,and she was interviewed in 1977 by Lilias Mitchell for her book Irish Spinning,Dyeing and Weaving.My father-in-law was her executor,& my mother-in-law knew her well.Miss A, as she was affectionately known, was a renowned pig breeder. My husband stayed at Dinish as a child,and visited Noan as well. I will speak with my mother-in-law,in case there is anything else that may be of interest.

    3. Thank you for this information (which I have only just found, thanks to unhelpful changes to Blogger) which I have added above. Any additional facts or recollections will be gratefully received. Nick

  6. Excellent and very useful post. I have a correction to put forward. John Leathley and his
    younger brother Edward Armitage married sisters. Their father was Henry Thompson of
    Cheltenham who with his wife, Judith Teshmaker, had five children: Henry Teshmaker
    Thompson (he is the one 'of Bridekirk'), Pearson (named after Henry's mother Ann Pearson), Sarah-Ann who married Edward Armitage, Esther who married Andrew Green, and Elizabeth who married John Leathley Thompson.

    1. Many thanks for the correction, which I have incorporated above.

    2. Henry T Thompson of Bridekirk is the brother of Sarah Ann and Elizabeth. Their father is Henry Thompson of Cheltenham. Henry T Thompson of Bridekirk never married. The son of his sister Esther became his legal heir and was granted the right to add Thompson to his name thus becoming Andrew Green Thompson by Queen Victoria on 13th July 1855.
      There isn't a Henry Thompson of both Bridekirk and Cheltenham despite what someone has put on Geni.

    3. Thanks for the further comment. I hope I have got it right now!

  7. Farnley Hall was purchased by Albert Henry Pawson in 1875 who lived nearby in Lawns House. He was a Merchant the owner of the Stonebridge Mill in Wortley. He sold Farnley Hall back to the Armitage family in 1898

    1. Thank you for this information, which I have added to my account above.

  8. Is there any information about the architect employed by Edward Armitage around 1805 to design the new south front? Even an attribution would be helpful. It is unlikely it was the work of a builder and architects in Leeds at this time were very few. Any thoughts will be gratefully received.

    1. I am afraid I have very little to suggest, as the building is not very distinctive. The only Leeds-based architect at this time was Thomas Johnson (1762-1814), who must be a plausible candidate.


Please leave a comment if you have any additional information or corrections to offer, or if you are able to help with additional images of the people or buildings in this post.