Friday 23 October 2015

(192) Arton (later Bourne-Arton) of Micklefield House, Tanfield Lodge and Sleningford Park

Arton of Tanfield Lodge

Bourne-Arton of Sleningford Park
As so often with the families whose stories are told in this blog, one man created the fortune of the Artons, although in this case subsequent generations have conserved rather than dissipated it. The founder of the family was Thomas Arton (1823-1911), who came from relatively humble middle class origins (he was the fourth son of a land agent and surveyor) but made a fortune as a 'stuff manufacturer' in Bradford between the 1840s and 1880s. (Stuff was a technical name for a type of worsted cloth, often made with a linen warp and worsted weft, that had no nap or pile). As he became wealthier, he bought increasingly grand houses, beginning with Shipley Low Hall in 1866 and trading up to Micklefield House at Rawdon in 1871, which he enlarged the following year. In 1886, when he had recently retired from business, he seems to have invested some of his capital in buying the 2,700 acre Tanfield estate, where the main attraction may have been the four miles of splendid fishing on the River Ure, as he became Vice-President of the local angling club. There was no major house on the Tanfield estate as Tanfield Hall had been pulled down by the previous owners, the Earls of Ailesbury, in 1816, and Thomas Arton continued to live mainly at Micklefield until his death. Tanfield Lodge, which perhaps began as a hunting lodge within the medieval park attached to Marmion Tower, was handily placed by the River Ure and was no doubt developed as an occasional residence for fishing parties, but its architectural history is obscure.

When Thomas Arton died in 1911 he was succeeded by his only son, William Denby Arton (1846-1949), a barrister (the first of many in a long family tradition) who was also in business in Bradford and seems to have continued to use Micklefield as his main residence for some years. In about 1918, however, he purchased Sleningford Park on the opposite bank of the River Ure and made this his main home. Micklefield was first let and then in 1930 sold to Rawdon Urban District Council, and it remains Council offices.  

In 1928, William Denby Arton's only son, Thomas, died at the age of 17, and so when William died in 1949 his estate was divided between his two daughters. The elder, Margaret Elaine (1913-2001) received the larger Tanfield estate and Tanfield Lodge, and the following year she and her husband, Maj. Anthony Temple Bourne, hyphenated their surnames by deed poll to preserve the Arton name. Sleningford passed to his younger daughter, Dorothy Alice (b. 1918), who married Lt-Col. Arthur Denis Bryant (1908-94). Both sisters prudently passed on their estates to the next generation in their lifetimes, thus avoiding significant tax penalties, and the same thing has happened again more recently. Tanfield Lodge passed to Christopher William Bourne-Arton (b. 1941) and from him to his only son, Richard William Bourne-Arton (b. 1966), who has invested in developing the hydroelectric power potential of the estate; and Sleningford passed to His Honour David Michael Arton Bryant (b. 1942), a County Court judge, and thence to his eldest son, Edward Denis Charles Bryant (b. 1971).

Micklefield House, Rawdon, Yorkshire (WR)

Micklefield House, rebuilt in 1847 and extended in 1872. Image: John Sparshott. Some rights reserved.

There is said to have been a house on this site as far back as 1616, but it was replaced by a new house of 1662 for David Marshall, and there is a sundial in the grounds with the date 1691 and the initials M.A.M. on it. The house was again rebuilt in a plain Elizabethan style in 1847 for William White, possibly to the designs of Henry Francis Lockwood (1811-78) who was then in independent practice in Hull, although he moved to Bradford after forming a partnership with William Mawson in 1849. This forms the core of the present house, which was extended to the west in the same spirit for Thomas Arton in 1872. The house is built of limestone that has been soot-blackened by generations of atmospheric pollution, an effect that is now increasingly rarely seen on grand houses but was once the norm in industrial areas. The house has been used as Council offices since it was sold to Rawdon Urban District Council in 1930.

Descent: David Marshall (fl. 1662)...William Leavens (1747-1818); to nephew, William White (1801-72), who sold 1863 to William Kutter, who leased it to John Venimore Godwin; sold 1871 to Thomas Arton (1823-1911); to son, William Denby Arton (1864-1949), who sold 1930 to Rawdon UDC.

Tanfield Lodge, West Tanfield, Yorkshire (NR)

Tanfield Lodge in 2008. Image: Paul Dawson

The house, which perhaps began as a lodge in the medieval park attached to Marmion Tower and later to Tanfield Hall (demolished in 1816), stands in a remote location on the banks of the River Ure, which here forms the boundary between the North and West Ridings. Although obviously extensively remodelled in the 20th century, there was a house here in the 1850s and the present building appears to be a complex structure with ranges of several different dates, all now united under a coat of stucco. The estate comprised 2,700 acres in the 1880s.

Tanfield Lodge from the Ordnance Survey 6" map of 1856, showing the site in relation to the former Tanfield Hall.

Descent: Ernest Augustus Charles Brudenell-Bruce (1811-86), 3rd Marquess of Ailesbury sold 1886 to Thomas Arton (1823-1911); to son, William Denby Arton (1864-1949); to daughter, Margaret Elaine (1913-2001), wife of Maj. Anthony Temple Bourne (later Bourne-Arton) (1913-96); to son, Christopher William Bourne-Arton (b. 1941); to son, Richard William Bourne-Arton (b. 1966).

Sleningford Park, North Stainley, Yorkshire (WR)

Sleningford Park in 2014. Image: George Allen

The core is a five bay, two-and-a-half storey house of stone, built about 1730 for Sir John Wray, 12th bt. of Fillingham (Lincs), with stone quoins at the angles; the central pedimented doorcase has blocked pilasters and a chunky quintuple keystone. To either side of this were added later three bay wings; that to the right being of two storeys and that to the left of one only; a further single-storey 19th century addition to the right with a tripartite window was built as a kitchen but has since been converted into a garage.  The rear elevation has a central doorway with a Gibbs surround and again a chunky quintuple keystone. Inside, the entrance hall has a pedimented plaster overmantel incorporating the ostrich badge of the Wray family. The big plain 19th century staircase rises to the second floor and blocks two windows on the centre of the rear elevation; it replaced a smaller staircase that apparently rose only to the first floor: the cornice of the original stairhall survives in a first floor bathroom and the adjacent landing. There is some simple bolection-moulded panelling in the upstairs rooms, and original doors and window shutters, and the dining room downstairs also has some 18th century panelling. Near the house is a quadrangular Palladian stable block of c.1760, with Diocletian windows, which has been converted into a separate house.

Descent: Sir John Wray (1689-1752), 12th bt; to son, Sir Cecil Wray, 13th bt, who sold to his brother-in-law, Capt. John Dalton (1726-1811); to son, Col. John Dalton (1758-1841); to son, John Dalton (1784-1864); to son, John Dalton (1813-71); to son, John Dalton (1848-87); to sister, Georgiana Isabella (d. 1918), wife of Seymour Berkeley Portman (later Portman-Dalton) (d. 1912), who let the house to W. Bairstow and later sold the estate (while retaining Sleningford Grange) before 1919 to William Denby Arton (1864-1949); to daughter, Dorothy Alice (fl. 1949), wife of Lt-Col. Arthur Denis Bryant; to son, David Michael Arton Bryant (b. 1942), who gave the house to his son, Edward Denis Charles Bryant (b. 1971).

Arton (later Bourne-Arton) family of Sleningford Park and Tanfield Lodge

Arton, William (1781-1841). Only son of James Arton (d. 1805) of Horsforth, born 21 November 1781. Land agent and surveyor and Liberal Party election agent. A Unitarian in religion. He married, 25 January 1804 at Guiseley (Yorks WR), Hannah (c.1786-1867), daughter of Joseph Exley of Rawdon (Yorks WR) and had issue:
(1) Jane Arton (1804-67?), born at Horsforth, 11 November 1804; married, 14 May 1826 at Guiseley, William Lobley (1799-1837) and had issue; perhaps the person of this name who was buried at Coley in Halifax (Yorks WR), 24 April 1867;
(2) Elizabeth Arton (b. 1806), born at Horsforth, 27 July 1806; married, 4 September 1826 at Guiseley, John Bailey of Leeds;
(3) Mary Arton (b. 1810), born at Horsforth, 12 September 1810;
(4) James Arton (b. 1812; fl. 1851), born at Horsforth, 24 November 1812; 
(5) William Arton (1815-1907) of Rotherham (Yorks WR), born at Horsforth, 9 January 1815; greengrocer and later butcher at Rotherham; married Emma [surname unknown] (b. c.1816); died 10 January 1907, aged 92; will proved 18 March 1907 (estate £248);
(6) Richard Arton (1817-67), born at Horsforth, 26 May 1817; clothier; married, 27 November 1837, Elizabeth Ingham (b. c.1818), and had issue; died 26 September 1867;
(7) Hannah Arton (1821-1906?), born 14 June 1821; married, 23 August 1846 at Wibsey, Bradford, Matthias William Smith Attwood, silversmith, and had issue; said to have died 31 December 1906;
(8) Thomas Arton (1823-1911) (q.v.);
(9) Sarah Arton (b. 1825), born at Horsforth, 28 December 1825; possibly the person of this name who married, 11 November 1849 at Calverley (Yorks WR), Richard Nicholson Lister, son of Joseph Lister, gent.;
(10) Joseph Arton (1828-55), born 16 June 1828; book-keeper and buyer in his brother's clothmaking business; died Apr-Jun 1855.
He lived at Horsforth (Yorks WR). His widow lived latterly at 65 Hanover Square, Bradford.
He died at Bradford, 15 May 1841. His widow died 22 January 1867.

Arton, Thomas (1823-1911). Fourth son of William Arton (b. 1781) and his wife Hannah, daughter of Joseph Exley of Rawdon (Yorks WR), born 2 December 1823. A stuff merchant with D. Abercrombie & Co. in Bradford (later Abercrombie & Arton and then Thomas Arton & Co.), a business which he appears to have sold in the 1880s. Chairman of Rawdon Local Board of Health c.1885-90 and Horsforth Waterworks Co., c.1890 and a Director of the Bradford Exchange. He married, 2 December 1856 at Baildon (Yorks WR), Hannah (c.1830-1902), daughter of William Denby of Tong Park, Baildon and had issue:
(1) William Denby Arton (1864-1949) (q.v.).
He purchased Shipley Low Hall in 1866; Micklefield House, Rawdon in 1871 and Tanfield Lodge, West Tanfield in 1886, but he was described as 'of Micklefield House' when his will was proved.
He died 27 March 1911; his will was proved 9 May 1911 (estate £78,308). His wife died 14 May and was buried at West Tanfield, 17 May 1902; her will was proved 4 June 1902 (estate £27,511).

Arton, William Denby (1864-1949) of Tanfield Lodge and Sleningford Park.  Only child of Thomas Arton (1823-1911) and his wife Hannah, daughter of William Denby of Tong Park, Baildon (Yorks WR), born 17 June 1864. Educated at Rugby School, Hertford College, Oxford (admitted 1883; BA 1885; MA 1896) and the Inner Temple (called to bar, 1889). Lt. in 3rd Battn, West Yorkshire Regt., 1886. Barrister-at-law; JP for the North and West Ridings of Yorkshire and the Liberty of Ripon. A Director of the Bradford Old Bank, and Chairman of Bradford Exchange. He married, 2 February 1910 at Esholt, Alice (k/a Elsie) (1880-1960), elder daughter of Charles Yewdall of Hollings Hall, Esholt (Yorks) and had issue:
(1) Thomas Denby Arton (1911-28), born 19 January 1911; died aged 17 at Holt (Norfolk), 31 January 1928;
(2) Margaret Elaine Arton (1913-2001) (q.v.);
(3) Dorothy Alice Arton (b. 1918) (q.v.).
He inherited Tanfield Lodge from his father in 1911 and purchased Sleningford Park in about 1918. He may have lived mainly at Micklefield House until 1918 and thereafter at Sleningford.
He died 13 December 1949; his will was proved 11 August 1950 and 4 January 1951 (estate £149,017). His widow lived at Hollings Hall, and died 15 June 1960; her will was proved 27 July 1960 (estate £63,737).

Arton (later Bourne, then Bourne-Arton), Margaret Elaine (1913-2001) of Tanfield Lodge. Elder daughter of William Denby Arton (1864-1949) and his wife Elsie, daughter of Charles Yewdall of Calverley (Yorks WR), born 17 February 1913. She married, 16 July 1938, Maj. Anthony Temple Bourne MBE (1913-96), who assumed the additional name of Arton by deed poll in 1950, MP for Darlington, 1959-64, and had issue:
(1) Caroline Rosemary Bourne-Arton MBE (b. 1940), born 15 January 1940; JP and DL for North Yorkshire; Chairman of Northallerton Health Authority and NHS Trust, 1988-97; Member of Yorkshire Dales National Park Committee; High Sheriff of North Yorkshire, 2004-05; married, 30 April 1960, Capt. Humphrey Talbot Thornton-Berry (1928-99) of Swinithwaite Hall, Leyburn (Yorks NR), only surviving son of Trevor Thornton-Berry, and had issue one son and one daughter;
(2) Christopher William Bourne-Arton (b. 1941) (q.v.);
(3) Hilary Susan Bourne-Arton (b. 1944), born 16 April 1944; married, 18 September 1965, Benjamin Dowson of Brackenhill, Caythorpe (Notts) and had issue two sons and one daughter;
(4) Simon Nicholas Bourne-Arton (b. 1949), born 5 September 1949; educated at Harrow, Teesside Polytechnic, Leeds University and Inner Temple (called to bar, 1975; bencher, 2003); barrister-at-law on north-eastern circuit (QC 1994; Leader of the circuit, 2006-09); a Recorder, 1993-2012 and a Senior Circuit Judge since 2012 on NE circuit; married, 1974, Diana Carr-Walker (b. 1950) and had issue two sons (both also barristers) and one daughter.
She inherited Tanfield Lodge from her father in 1949 and handed it on to her elder son in her lifetime.
She died 26 September 2001; her will was proved 10 April 2002. Her husband died in May 1996.

Bourne-Arton, Christopher William (b. 1941). Elder son of Maj. Anthony Temple Bourne (later Bourne-Arton) and his wife Margaret Elaine, daughter of William Denby Arton of Tanfield Lodge and Sleningford Park, born 13 November 1941. Educated at Harrow School. Director of Farming & Wildlife Advisory Group, 1991-2005 and Yorkshire Agricultural Society, 2003-05. He married, 10 July 1965, Gillian, second daughter of Robin Kidman Clover of Highthorne, Rosthwaite, Yorks, and had issue:
(1) Richard William Bourne-Arton (b. 1966) of Tanfield Lodge, born 13 March 1966; educated at Durham Univ; Director of UK Hydro Ltd. and Blur Group plc; married, November 1991, Daphne E. Benson and had issue two sons and one daughter;
(2) Fiona Louise Bourne-Arton (b. 1973), born Oct-Dec 1973; married, August 2000, Daniel Thomas Sibson (b. 1971), son of Peter Sibson of London and had issue.
His mother handed over the Tanfield Lodge estate to him before her death and he has likewise handed over most of the estate to his eldest son.
Now living.

Arton (later Bryant), Dorothy Alice (b. 1918) of Sleningford Park. Second daughter of William Denby Arton (1864-1949) and his wife Elsie, daughter of Charles Yewdall of Calverley (Yorks WR), born 2 April 1918. She married, 15 January 1941 at West Tanfield, Lt-Col. Arthur Denis Bryant (1908-94), elder son of Maj. Basil Bryant of Ingram (Northbld), and had issue:
(1) David Michael Arton Bryant (b. 1942) (q.v.);
(2) Penelope Anthea Bryant (b. 1944), born Jul-Sep 1944; married, 9 September 1967, Capt. Henry Royston King, son of Henry Charles Leslie King of Wimbledon (Surrey) and had issue.
She inherited Sleningford Park from her father in 1949 but handed it on to her son in her lifetime.
She was living in 1998. Her husband died 12 April 1994; his will was proved 6 July 1994 (estate not exceeding £125,000).

Bryant, His Honour David Michael Arton (b. 1942) of Sleningford Park. Only son of Lt-Col. Arthur Denis Bryant and his wife Dorothy Alice, daughter of William Denby Arton of Tanfield Lodge and Sleningford Park, born 27 January 1942. Educated at Wellington College, Oriel College, Oxford (BA 1963) and Inner Temple (called to bar 1964). Barrister-at-law on NE circuit, 1965-89; appointed an Assistant Recorder, 1981, Recorder, 1985, and a County Court judge, 1989, all on the NE circuit; retired 2007; Member of the Parole Board since 2007. He married, Jul-Sep 1969, (Diana) Caroline (b. 1945), daughter of Brig. (William) Charles (Walker) Sloan and had issue:
(1) Edward Denis Charles Bryant (b. 1971) of Sleningford Park, born September 1971; married, Jul-Sep 2001, Rosanna E. Burn and had issue a daughter;
(2) Lucinda Mary Bryant (b. 1973), born Jan-Mar 1973; married, 2002, Hon. Shane Lyle Mackay (b. 1973), third son of Kenneth James William Mackay (1917-94), 3rd Earl of Inchcape and had issue two sons and one daughter;
(3) William Robert Bryant (b. 1982), born Jul-Sep 1982; married, 2010, Louise, eldest daughter of Richard North of Putney (London).
His mother passed Sleningford Park on to him in her lifetime, and he in turn handed it over to his son before 2011.
Now living.


Burke's Landed Gentry, 1969, pp. 18-19; VCH Yorkshire - North Riding, vol. 1, 1913, pp. 384-89; P. Leach & Sir N. Pevsner, The buildings of England: Yorkshire West Riding: Leeds, Bradford and the North, 2009, pp. 608, 629; Who's Who, 2013, pp. 243, 311;

Location of archives

Arton and Bourne-Arton families: deeds and papers, 13th-20th cents [North Yorkshire Record Office, ZBS]

Coat of arms

Arton: Or, on a chevron sable, five fleurs-de-lys argent.
Bourne-Arton: Or, on a chevron per pale gules and azure between three lions rampant sable, five fleurs-de-lys 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.

  • I should be very interested to hear any views on my suggestion that Micklefield House might be an early work of Henry Francis Lockwood. The building is rather in the style of some of his later works but I cannot find that he had any particular connection with Bradford before opening an office there in 1850.
  • I have been unable to find any account of the architectural development of Tanfield Lodge, which is not a listed building. If anyone can provide more information about it, I should be very pleased to hear from them.
  • As always, if anyone can supply more or better photographs of the houses described, whether for publication or otherwise, I should be very pleased to receive them.
  • If anyone can supply fuller genealogical details of the children of William Arton (1781-1841), or of recent generations of the family, I should be pleased to incorporate them.

Revision and acknowledgements

This post was first published 23rd October 2015.

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