There were only about 20 people named Greenwood living in Armley village in the mid 1700’s. They may well have all been related. One particularity successful Greenwood family had six children. Three sisters, Elizabeth, Margaret and Ellen Greenwood and three brothers Edward, John and Samuel. For reasons I have covered in my previous blog I don’t know the name of their parents but from Elizabeth’s will we do know that they were sisters.

Tallow Chandler
Tallow Chandler

This family were probably Tallow Chandlers. A tallow-chandler made and sold candles of suet or fat and may even have boiled soap from similar ingredients. Its possible that they ran a store that sold their candles, soap and general provisions. Unusually, two of the sisters stayed unmarried all their lives, spinsters until their deaths. Ellen Greenwood did marry, she married William Barker of Coxwold. Accredited in the Coxwold trade directory in 1823, William was also a Tallow Chandler. Strangely, there are no records of this marriage in Yorkshire Parish records, so it is difficult to find out more about Ellen. It could be that she was a young widow before she married William, or perhaps Ellen is a variant of her Christian name given at baptism. Elizabeth later joined her sister in that small Ryedale village, perhaps bringing her nephew Richard with her to work in the trade.

Margaret Greenwood moved to York, where she died in 1811 and was buried in St Saviours Church. Her  will leaves £5 per annum to her niece Catherine Butler and the rest to her sister Elizabeth of Coxwold. Elizabeth later left that inheritance to Catherine, plus what looks like £1,000 per annum! That is the equivalent of £110,000 in todays money. I wonder where that money came from?

Their brother, Edward Greenwood, married about 1775. He probably married close by in Calverley or Guiseley and lived locally in Armley. Its not proved possible to put a name to his wife. They had at least four children in Armley, Edward junior, Richard, Robert and Sarah.  It is possible they had a further two,  George and Catherine who are both mentioned as nephew and niece in Elizabeth’s will and so its likely they are Edwards children. Around 1786 Edward’s family moved to Horsforth a couple of miles further out from Leeds, where they had a further three children; Thomas, John and Ellen (named after her aunt). There was a census taken in Horsforth in 1795 and we can see Edward with just a family of six there, perhaps his sons had moved out of the family home onto careers of their own. Again, Elizabeth’s will is a good guide to who is where when she dies. She names Richard Greenwood of Pickering as her executor and we can see from the 1851 census that he was born in Armley. Edward and Ellen her nephew and niece from Horsforth are also mentioned along with George’s son William.  In Horsforth there is also another Greenwood family mentioned in the census. This is Samuel and his family of four, who may have been from Low Wortley, near Armley, to where he moved back around the turn of the century. He is probably Elizabeth’s brother although the only link is based on coming from Armley.

Richard Greenwoods  Grocers & Tallow Chandlers Shop on Potters Hills Pickering.
Richard Greenwood’s Grocers & Tallow Chandlers Shop from 1820’s on Potters Hills Pickering.

Richard Greenwood took on the family occupation as a grocer and tallow chandler. At some time he must have followed his aunt Ellen to Coxwold, where he married  Hannah Rowell in 1806. He was a grocer when he married Hannah and they soon move to Pickering, some 17 miles away and where he establishes a Tallow Chandlers business. He is mentioned in the Pickering Trade directories in 1823 and 1829 trading from Potters Hill, where he stayed for the rest of his life. Richard is the executor of Elizabeth’s will and was clearly an important relative to Elizabeth.

Richard becomes a Police Constable, probably Pickering’s first and only policeman and his house could have becomes the Police station.

I don’t think they had family together and Hannah sadly dies in 1839. In early 1841 Richard marries Mary Brown, a young widow, who moves in with her two children. He retires from the police before 1851 and starts a property business as a house and land proprietor until he dies age 77 in 1858.

Looking back at the will again, Elizabeth mentions another niece, Sarah Wood, the wife of Isaac Wood of Harewood, Leeds. They married in Coxwold in 1806 where they were both living at the time, perhaps also running the grocery business. Isaac was a joiner and they had a son John Wood born 1812 in Coxwold.

Finally, Ellen Greenwood, Edward’s last daughter, born in Horsforth, married James Walton in Guiseley and they go onto have a family of four, descendants of whom are still around in Leeds today.

Elizabeth apparently wrote her will weel before she died, covering many of her family,. She died in 1835 probably in Pickering, age 82 and is buried in the parish church of St Peter & St Paul.

Family of Elizabeth Greenwood of Coxwold
Family of Elizabeth Greenwood of Coxwold