The Lomax Family
Richard Lomax (born 1688) was the heir of James Lomax of Pilsworth, South East Lancashire and in 1715 he married Rebecca Heywood who was the granddaughter of John and Jennet Grimshaw of Sparth and from them she inherited the Clayton Hall estate in 1728.
James, the eldest son of Richard and Rebecca, was born in 1717 and his parents, who had never actually lived there, gave him the Clayton estate in 1753. James did well. He had coal mines in Clayton and on land he leased in Great Harwood and when the Nowells of Read Hall were forced to sell the Lower Town between 1770 - 1773 he was the chief buyer. Around 1769 James converted to the Roman Catholic Church, quite an unusual act at the time. Local tradition says that he became friendly with the Petre's Chaplain at Dunkenhalgh who gave him some superior brandy. This led him to inquire into the religion of the country of its origin and this led to his conversion. James' eldest son Richard Grimshaw Lomax succeeded him and married Catherine Greaves, daughter and co-heiress of Thomas Greaves of Preston. Richard extended his coal mining interests by leasing more land in Great Harwood from Sir Thomas Hesketh and when any property in the town came on the market Richard bought it. In 1819 the Upper Town was put up for sale and Richard bought it all and became Lord of the Manor and owner of almost the entire town. Catherine gave birth to ten sons and two daughters. The sons who survived were educated at nearby, Jesuit, Stonyhurst College and three of them became priests. Richard died in 1837 and was buried at Altham.
Clayton Hall the principle Lomax home (Trappes-Lomax archive)
John, who inherited the estate, was born in 1801 the fourth son of Richard and Catherine. He married Helen, daughter of John Aspinall of Standen Hall and though they had no children he improved and enlarged the family home at Clayton Hall. He died in 1849 was also buried at Altham and was succeeded by his brother James.
James Lomax (below, 1803 - 1886) married Frances Cecilia Verda, eldest daughter of Charles Walmesley of Wigan and had been given land in Great Harwood by his father where he built his home, Allsprings, in 1838.
James Lomax was a keen otter hunter, at one
When James inherited the Clayton Hall Estate from his brother he became owner of 2,865 acres in the town with other land in Clayton and Hurst Green making a total of 3,400 acres.
Allsprings as it was and sadly derelict in 2000
Photo P. Eddleston
There were still, however, some farms which had been bought in the 1770 sale which he didn't own but whenever any of this land came up for sale James Lomax was the buyer so eventually he owned all but a few acres of the town. It was during his lifetime that the village grew from 1,695 souls making their living from farming and handloom weaving into a small cotton manufacturing town of 9,000. Although the growth brought him great wealth he was no absentee landlord the management of the town and farms was firmly in his own hands or more correctly his own hand.
On Saturday 29th October 1842 while out shooting with friends near Cunliffe House Farm, Rishton, James managed to discharge his gun into his own right hand. The damage was so severe the hand could not be saved although he otherwise made a full recovery.
As the town grew different religious organisations were leasing land to build their churches. Roman Catholics began meeting in various premises in the town until James put forward the funds to build Our Lady and St. Hubert's Church and School. The church was officially opened 5th November 1859 and the land and deeds were handed over to the Church free of debt.
James died in 1886 and was buried in
Frances Lomax died in 1891 and Helen Trappes took possession of the Allsprings Estate under the conditions of James Lomax's will along with farms at Hurst Green the latter on condition she took the name Trappes-Lomax for herself and her heirs. These two ladies were more willing to sell land than their predecessors. Amongst the disposals was a large area of the Dean Valley which had originally been secured on a perpetual lease for the building of Dean Reservoirs, land near Martholme for the sewage works, the sites of the cemetery, St Hubert's, St Wulstan's and St John's churches, and the rights to the market and Fair. They also donated some land for use as a recreation ground.
Richard Trappes Lomax succeeded his mother, Helen, when she died in 1924, he was married to Alice, daughter of Basil T. Fitzherbert of Swynnerton, Stafford. He was a Captain in the Royal Lancashire Regiment and served with them in South Africa (1900 - 1901), then with the Lancashire Hussars during 1914 -18 first as Captain then Major. Richard and Alice had eight sons, the eldest also serving during 1914 - 18 as a Captain in the Scots Guards. Though opposed to the sale Richard Trappes-Lomax was unable to prevent the 1925 auction of the Clayton Hall Estate, including much of Great Harwood. Many of the lots were sold but some property did not reach its reserve, particularly the residential ground rents, and this was divided between Mrs. Howell and Richard. The land sold was bought by many different people and companies, there was no single buyer such as James or Richard Grimshaw Lomax, so bringing an effective end to the Lords of the Manor of Great Harwood after nearly 900 years.
The Allsprings Estate was retained by the Trappes-Lomax family but further sales over the years to cover death duties have reduced it to only ground rents in Great Harwood.
1 Liverpool Mercury 4th Nov 1842; Morning Chronicle 5th Nov 1842
Great Harwood Gleanings. Louie Pollard (Lancs County Council 1978) Passim
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