Copy of original document; local oral history; Internet research
Vesting deed relating to the Michaelchurch Estate
Vesting Deed [for the purpose of giving effect to the requirements of the Settled Land Act of 1925] dated 31st December 1926 issued by the trustees of the Michaelchurch Court Estate , Guy Rawson Trafford of Hill Court, Ross in the county of Hereford and Lionel Guy Trafford of Turvey House, Holmer in the same county.
The deed refers to the will, dated 16th August 1878, of Elizabeth Rawson, late of Nidd Hall in the county of York.
The deed states that Paragraph 7 of the will refers to the disposition of ‘the Manors of Ewyas Lacy and Crasswall and the Michaelchurch Escley Court Estate all in the county of Hereford including such parts of the same estate as were copyhold and leaseholds for lives and advowson of St. Margarets and Michaelchurch Escley. And also by way of further devise all and singular other the estates farms lands and hereditaments of whatever tenure in the county of Hereford which she was then or should be thereafter seised or possessed of or entitled to either at law or in equity or competent to dispose of beneficially by that her will’
[A Miss Rawson (presumably Elizabeth referred to above) died at Nidd Hall near Knaresborough, Yorkshire, on November 29th 1892. Events in that year described in the Ripon Millenary Record published by William Harrison of Ripon are as follows:
‘November 29th. Died at Nidd Hall in her 96th year, Miss Rawson, the youngest and last surviving daughter of Mr. Benjamin Rawson of Nidd Hall, whose mother was the only child of the late Mr. Thomas Plumbe of Bolton, near York and who succeeded to the estates in the year 1844. The deceased lady was born in 1795. Her father died in 1844 leaving two daughters, one of whom died in 1863, and the surviving daughter quietly passed away, after a life of uninterrupted charity and benevolence, during the closing hours of Saturday evening. The deceased during her lifetime was lavishly charitable, not only to those resident in the immediate vicinity of her demesne, but to institutions throughout the country. Miss Rawson owned a vast amount of landed property in various parts of the county. The heir to the estate is the Hon. Henry Edmund Butler, of Eagle Hall, Pateley Bridge, son of Viscount Mountgarret. Mr Butler married the daughter of Mr St. John C.Charlton of Apsley Castle, Salop, and in 1885 contested the borough of Windsor as the Liberal candidate.’
The earlier history of the family seems extensive. Rawson emerged after the Norman conquest as a notable family name in Yorkshire, seated as Lords of the Manor of Rawson with estates in Yorkshire. They branched to Frystone and Shipley, and thence to Nidd Hall where they were seated about 1300. They also branched to Darley Hall in Lancashire and Pickborne in Yorkshire. Frystone, near Ferrybridge, continued to be the main stem of the family. They also branched to Stoneyroyd, Halifax, Mill House, Wardsend and Humbercliffe House in Bradford. Modern seats are at Nidd Hall near Knaresborough and Darley Hall.]
Elizabeth Rawson’s will, according to the Vesting deed, provided that the Herefordshire Estates be left to Charles Guy Trafford for his life, and to his sons for their lives, except for 20 acres including Escley Court left to his wife, Caroline Ann Trafford for her life.
[Note: According to Sale Particulars describing the Michaelchurch Estate drawn up by Knight Frank and Rutley c. 1988, Elizabeth Rawson purchased the Estate in 1864, and subsequently left it to her nephew, Charles Guy Trafford – who was therefore probably the son of Elizabeth’s sister Mary, who died in 1863. This would also explain the Rawson name appearing in Richard Randolph William Rawson Trafford, the last of the Traffords at Michaelchurch, below].
In the event, Charles Guy Trafford predeceased Elizabeth Rawson, and the inheritance passed to Henry Randolph Trafford, second son of Charles Guy Trafford, for his life, and to his sons successively according to their seniority, for their lives.
The will also provided that after the death of the last survivors of the Trafford sons, the successors of Charles Guy Trafford, Sir Edward Hopton and Henry Edmund Butler [later 14th Viscount Mountgarret] who had been appointed trustees of the property were entitled to sell or dispose of the Herefordshire estates as they saw fit.
On the 4th April 1928 the trustees conveyed the Michaelchurch Estate to Richard Randolph William Rawson Trafford.
[On the 18th January 1943 Richard Randolph William Rawson Trafford, RNVR, died in action in the second world war, and with him the male Trafford line also died. The estate was left to his mother, Bettina Maud Capper, and subsequently conveyed in 1944 to her daughter Clare Margaret Hunter. Over the period from 1953 to 1976 parts of the estate were conveyed to Michael Henry Hunter, and many of the farms and other properties were gradually also sold to third parties, breaking up the original estate. On Michael Hunter’s death, the remainder of the estate was put on the market, and bought by John Williams of Shepherd’s Meadow, Eaton Bishop.]